© Wizards of the Coast by Jason Chan

Paladin 5e Feat Guide: Why Should My Paladin Take a Feat?

Feats in Dungeons and Dragons represent a particular expertise, ability, or mastery beyond the pale of the normal training received by the base Classes.

With every four class levels, a player character will receive an Ability Score Increase.

At this time, a player can choose to forego the Ability Score Increase and instead take a Feat.

Some feats provide bonuses to Ability Scores but are focused more on providing interesting and useful abilities than raw statistical advantages.

Feats can have prerequisites as well. For instance, the Grappler feat requires a player to have at least 13 Strength.

Dropping below 13 Strength due to a status or taking the feat without reaching the minimum required Strength score will result in the player being unable to benefit from the feat, even if they have it.

Paladins are one of the strongest base classes in the game, boasting high damage potential, fantastic utility, and great survivability and tanking capabilities.

So if your Paladin already has high stats, a feat might be one of the most versatile boosts for your character sheet.

Providing things like extra proficiencies or even whole new abilities that the Paladin can utilize in combat or roleplay, feats can bolster or alter the way a character plays in fantastical and entertaining ways.

Once a Paladin has reached 20 Strength and Constitution, there isn’t as much of a reason to continue to dump points, even into Charisma – the Paladin’s casting ability score – because realistically you’re not casting that much.

Paladins can only prepare a number of spells equal to their Charisma modifier plus half their Paladin level, so a maximum of 15 prepared spells at level twenty.

Combine that with no ability to cast spells of a higher level than the 5th level and a Paladin really isn’t going to be slinging spells like they’re going out of style. 

What Feats Are the Strongest for Paladins?

While there is more to choosing a feat than simply raw statistical power, the following feats have some of the higher statistical advantages in combat for the Paladin class.

Sentinel is an absolute godsend for Paladins when it comes to evasive enemies. The ability to provoke opportunity attacks even when a Disengage action is used is powerful enough.

When combined with Sentinel’s ability to reduce the speed of a target hit with an opportunity attack to 0, effectively stunning them, it allows the Paladin to stick to enemies easily.

Savage Attacker Being able to reroll attack damage dice and take whichever set you deem appropriate  (the higher value, usually) once per turn provides a powerful tool to optimise your damage output on any melee attacker.

Tough All characters fall when their health is reduced to 0 and having more of it makes it harder to reduce to 0. The Tough feat is best taken early and provides a fantastic bolster to the already fantastic tanking abilities of the Paladin.

Fighting Initiate Protection is a very strong ability for the Paladin to take, but when choosing between Protection, Defense, and Great Weapon Fighting, it can be hard to forgo the extra AC or Damage for Protection.

Taking Fighting Initiate lets you grab that Protection fighting style whenever you’re ready to use it, or you can take one of the other two options if you already have it!

Lucky is a powerful feat on any class that has the ability scores to support it that can easily change the tides of battle by giving characters the ability to reroll important rolls that they were unlucky with.

D&D 5e Feats Available To Paladins: What Do I Take?

There are a huge amount of feats that are available for everyone to take. All the feats below have been sorted into five categories and have been categorised as Offensive, Defensive, or Utility based.

Purple headings provide optimal choices for the Paladin class in whatever classifications the feat falls under.

Blue headings are strong choices but are more situational than purple headings.

Green headings are very situational but have potential as more than just roleplay aspects for the character.

Red headings lack support within the skill set of the Paladin class and really only provide roleplay potential for the character.

Black are just bad and should be avoided since they offer no tangible benefit to the Paladin class gameplay or roleplay-wise.

Savage Attacker OFFENSIVE

  • Once per turn, when you roll damage for a melee weapon attack, you can reroll the weapon’s damage dice and use either total.

A fantastic pickup for Paladins who are looking to deal more damage.

Especially given that the reroll allows you to select which value you would like to use, it provides a healthy damage efficiency boost to the Paladin, who is primarily dealing all of their damage through melee weapon attacks.

Slasher OFFENSIVE

  • You’ve learned where to cut to have the greatest results, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Once per turn when you hit a creature with an attack that deals slashing damage, you can reduce the speed of the target by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.
  • When you score a critical hit that deals slashing damage to a creature, you grievously wound it. Until the start of your next turn, the target has disadvantage on all attack rolls.

Slasher is so good for Paladins, who are often seen wielding Longswords, Greatswords, Halberds and even Battleaxes, which all deal slashing damage. It sees fantastic synergy with Great Weapon Fighting.

It also offsets the lack of an Ability Score Increase somewhat with 1 point to Strength or Dexterity (likely going into Strength on a Paladin unless they already have 20 Strength.) 

Sentinel OFFENSIVE / DEFENSIVE

  • You have mastered techniques to take advantage of every drop in any enemy’s guard, gaining the following benefits.
  • When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.
  • Creatures provoke opportunity attacks from you even if they take the Disengage action before leaving your reach.
  • When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn’t have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.

Sentinel makes the Paladin an incredible threat to any creature they happen to be in melee range of, as they can’t simply attack around the Paladin with ranged weapons and spells.

The ability to ignore the Disengage action is also potent for the Paladin to help them stick to enemies like glue, ensuring that they cannot escape from their grasp.

Shield Master DEFENSIVE

  • You use shields not just for protection but also for offense. You gain the following benefits while you are wielding a shield:
  • If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield.
  • If you aren’t incapacitated, you can add your shield’s AC bonus to any Dexterity saving throw you make against a spell or other harmful effect that targets only you.
  • If you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you can use your reaction to take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, interposing your shield between yourself and the source of the effect.

Paladins already make great use of shields, and many Paladins start the game with one, so why not bolster that piece of armour a bit?

The additional modifier to Dexterity saving throws and the ability to ignore damage from spells like Fireball, Flame Strike, and Lightning Bolt provides the Paladin with a considerable amount of survivability and tanking potential.

Tough DEFENSIVE

  • Your hit point maximum increases by an amount equal to twice your level when you gain this feat. Whenever you gain a level thereafter, your hit point maximum increases by an additional 2 hit points

A feat that is not hit or miss at all. Tough is incredibly good on any character who doesn’t need another Ability Score Increase.

It gives a massive boost to any character in terms of defensive survivability with a big bonus to their health pool, especially if taken at an early level.

Heavy Armor Master DEFENSIVE
  • You can use your armor to deflect strikes that would kill others. You gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • While you are wearing heavy armor, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage that you take from nonmagical weapons is reduced by 3.

The Strength score increase offsets the missing Ability Score increase, and flat damage reduction increases your survivability, especially against low-level mobs.

Fighting Initiate OFFENSIVE / DEFENSIVE

  • Your martial training has helped you develop a particular style of fighting. As a result, you learn one Fighting Style option of your choice from the fighter class. If you already have a style, the one you choose must be different.
  • Whenever you reach a level that grants the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can replace this feat’s fighting style with another one from the fighter class that you don’t have.

Paladins already get one Fighting Style at level 2… but why not have two? Great Weapon Fighting, Defense, and Protection are all good for Paladins, and now you can choose two of them instead of just one!

Healer UTILITY

  • You are an able physician, allowing you to mend wounds quickly and get your allies back in the fight. You gain the following benefits:
  • When you use a healer’s kit to stabilize a dying creature, that creature also regains 1 hit point.
  • As an action. you can spend one use of a healer’s kit to tend to a creature and restore 1d6 + 4 hit points to it, plus additional hit points equal to the creature’s maximum number of Hit Dice. The creature can’t regain hit points from this feat again until it finishes a short or long rest.

Paladins are usually not going to take more healing than Lay On Hands because it’s such a potent healing ability on its own, and the Paladin will benefit a lot from taking more Damage related spells.

Paladins also do not get access to Resurrection, so using the Healer’s Kit as a “baby Resurrection” can be powerful, or even necessary, if your party doesn’t have another healer.

Shadow Touched UTILITY

  • Your exposure to the Shadowfell’s magic has changed you, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You learn the Invisibility spell and one 1st-level spell of your choice. The 1st-level spell must be from the Illusion or Necromancy school of magic. You can cast each of these spells without expending a spell slot. Once you cast either of these spells in this way, you can’t cast that spell in this way again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast these spells using spell slots you have of the appropriate level. The spells’ spellcasting ability is the ability increased by this feat.

Invisibility can be helpful, and Shadow Touched can give you a Charisma-based cast of Cure Wounds if you want some extra healing or Inflict Wounds if you want some additional damage.

If you’ve already reached your Ability Score benchmarks, Cure or Inflict Wounds can provide a tremendous amount of utility to the Paladin.

Lucky UTILITY

  • You have inexplicable luck that seems to kick in at just the right moment.
  • You have 3 luck points. Whenever you make an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20. You can choose to spend one of your luck points after you roll the die, but before the outcome is determined. You choose which of the d20s is used for the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.
  • You can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you. Roll a d20 and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker’s roll or yours.
  • If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled.
  • You regain your expended luck points when you finish a long rest.

Lucky is a pretty universally good feat so long as your Ability Score benchmarks have been reached.

Resilient UTILITY

  • Choose one ability score. You gain the following benefits:
  • Increase the chosen ability score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency in saving throws using the chosen ability.

If you’ve already maxed out — or are on the path to maxing out — either Strength or Constitution, getting proficiency with savinvaluable fors in the other is definitely a solid option to consider.

Constitution is probably a better choice, where possible, as it provides more utility and survivability, but Strength can be just as useful in the right situations.

Skill Expert UTILITY

  • You have honed your proficiency with particular skills, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase one ability score of your choice by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
  • Choose one skill in which you have proficiency. You gain expertise with that skill, which means your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with it. The skill you choose must be one that isn’t already benefiting from a feature, such as Expertise, that doubles your proficiency bonus.

This is such an excellent feat to take to round out your Ability Scores since it gives you one point to whatever you choose.

It also gives you an extra skill proficiency and Expertise in a skill of your choice, which is just such a strong addition to any character sheet.

Ritual Caster UTILITY

  • You have learned a number of spells that you can cast as rituals. These spells are written in a ritual book, which you must have in hand while casting one of them.
  • When you choose this feat, you acquire a ritual book holding two 1st-level spells of your choice. Choose one of the following classes: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You must choose your spells from that class’s spell list, and the spells you choose must have the ritual tag. The class you choose also must have the ritual tag. The class you choose also determines your spellcasting ability for these spells: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.
  • If you come across a spell in written form, such as a magical spell scroll or a wizard’s spellbook, you might be able to add it to your ritual book. The spell must be on the spell list for the class you chose, the spell’s level can be no higher than half your level (rounded up), and it must have the ritual tag. The process of copying the spell into your ritual book takes 2 hours per level of the spell, and costs 50 gp per level. The cost represents the material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.

Ritual Caster has such strong utility potential for a Paladin who doesn’t have as much space on their spell list to dedicate to learning many useful ritual spells like Identify, Detect Magic, and Comprehend Languages.

Given that you’ll have to cast them as a Ritual to use them in these situations, the requirement of holding the spellbook doesn’t really hold the Paladin back here.

It provides a fantastic amount of utility for the Paladin by expanding their spell list to include rituals from other classes. 

Skilled UTILITY

  • You gain proficiency in any combination of three skills or tools of your choice.

If you’ve already reached your Ability Score benchmarks, proficiency in 3 skills or tools is never going to be a bad addition to your sheet.

Mounted Combatant OFFENSIVE

  • You are a dangerous foe to face while mounted. While you are mounted and aren’t incapacitated, you gain the following benefits:
  • You have advantage on melee attack rolls against any unmounted creature that is smaller than your mount.
  • You can force an attack targeted at your mount to target you instead.
  • If your mount is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

A horse will give your Paladin a fantastic “knight in shining armour” aesthetic, should you desire one, as well as some really amazing damage potential. Simply being mounted will provide your character with a lot of varying utility.

So, why isn’t this top tier? Horses are pretty expensive, and stealing one is not actually much easier than buying one, especially given the lack of clear rules surrounding riding and unwilling (or spooked) mount.

Charger OFFENSIVE

  • When you use your action to Dash, you can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack or to shove a creature. If you move at least 10 feet in a straight line immediately before taking this bonus action, you either gain a +5 bonus to the attack’s damage roll (if you chose to make a melee attack and hit) or push the target up to 10 feet away from you (if you chose to shove and you succeed).

For Paladins who have already reached their benchmarks in Strength and Constitution, Charger can provide a little bit more ‘oomph’ to their initial engagement with enemies.

However, it’s definitely more situational than Savage Attacker for damage output since the damage relies on being able to dash at least 10 feet in a straight line.

Mage Slayer OFFENSIVE

  • You have practiced techniques in melee combat against spellcasters, gaining the following benefits:
  • When a creature within 5 feet of you casts a spell, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against that creature.
  • When you damage a creature that is concentrating on a spell, that creature has disadvantage on the saving throw it makes to maintain its concentration.
  • You have advantage on saving throws against spells cast by creatures within 5 feet of you.

Though definitely situational, as it would be entirely useless in a low-magic campaign, I’ve rated Mage Slayer this high as it essentially ensures that any Paladin who gets into melee range of a Mage is a high-threat, deadly force.

It not only provides extra damage to the Paladin’s rotation, it also allows the Paladin to prevent the enemy casters from concentrating on spells that might be threatening to the Paladin’s cohorts.

Great Weapon Master OFFENSIVE

  • You’ve learned to put the weight of a weapon to your advantage, letting its momentum empower your strikes. You gain the following benefits:
  • On your turn, when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you can make one melee weapon attack as a bonus action.
  • Before you make a melee attack with a heavy weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack’s damage.

This is a really great (har har) addition to the Great Weapon Fighting style that you can take at level 2.

The bonus 10 damage can help you instantly drop lower-level mobs that are often seen crowded around high-level enemies, especially at high levels where weapon and proficiency bonuses will help abate the attack penalty.

The extra attack when you drop an enemy is also an incredibly potent ability at later levels where enemies may also have to make death saves.

The requirement of using a Heavy weapon, however, to get the bonus damage can be limiting.

Crusher OFFENSIVE

  • You are practiced in the art of crushing your enemies, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Constitution by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals bludgeoning damage, you can move it 5 feet to an unoccupied space, provided the target is no more than one size larger than you.
  • When you score a critical hit that deals bludgeoning damage to a creature, attack rolls against that creature are made with advantage until the start of your next turn.

Aside from the added benefit of offsetting the lack of an Ability Score Increase, Crusher synergises well with Paladins who take Great Weapon Fighting as their Fighting Style, but they have to use either a Maul or a Warhammer.

Truthfully, the only thing holding this feat back is the lack of melee weapons dealing bludgeoning damage which make up just eight of the twenty-seven melee weapons, compared to ten slashing weapons.

Absolutely top tier for a character who is going to use it and is only rated lower than Slasher because it has fewer weapon options.

When actually in use by a Paladin who is using a melee weapon that deals bludgeoning damage, it is exactly the same tier as Slasher.

Fey Touched UTILITY / OFFENSIVE / DEFENSIVE

  • Your exposure to the Feywild’s magic has changed you, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You learn the Misty Step spell and one 1st-level spell of your choice. The 1st-level spell must be from the Divination or Enchantment school of magic. You can cast each of these spells without expending a spell slot. Once you cast either of these spells in this way, you can’t cast that spell in this way again until you finish a long rest. You can also cast these spells using spell slots you have of the appropriate level. The spells’ spellcasting ability is the ability increased by this feat.

Fey Touched is a pretty great feat for any caster. You can choose whatever your casting ability score is for the increase, and you get a free Misty Step and 1st-level spell per day, plus you can upcast both spells if you want to.

Piercer OFFENSIVE

  • You have achieved a penetrating precision in combat, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals piercing damage, you can re-roll one of the attack’s damage dice, and you must use the new roll.
  • When you score a critical hit that deals piercing damage to a creature, you can roll one additional damage die when determining the extra piercing damage the target takes.

Unfortunately, this feat does not give you the ability to perform cosmetic piercing procedures on your allies.

Still, it does let you deal increased damage against enemies when performing mortal piercing procedures. It runs into all the same roadblocks as Crusher but has all the same logic and is easily purple-tier on a Paladin who actually uses a piercing weapon.

Spell Sniper OFFENSIVE / UTILITY

  • You have learned techniques to enhance your attacks with certain kinds of spells, gaining the following benefits:
  • When you cast a spell that requires you to make an attack roll, the spell’s range is doubled.
  • Your ranged spell attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.
  • You learn one cantrip that requires an attack roll. Choose the cantrip from the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard spell list. Your spellcasting ability for this cantrip depends on the spell list you chose from: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, and warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.

Since Paladin casting will often be focused on dealing damage, being able to cast spells at a longer range allows them to control more space.

Spell Sniper also helps get around the “Paladins don’t get cantrips” thing in 5e, giving them access to Firebolt or maybe Toll the Dead, casting off Charisma so that they get the most value out of them.

Telepathic UTILITY

  • You awaken the ability to mentally connect with others, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You can speak telepathically to any creature you can see within 60 feet of you. Your telepathic utterances are in a language you know, and the creature understands you only if it knows that language. Your communication doesn’t give the creature the ability to respond to you telepathically.
  • You can cast the Detect Thoughts spell, requiring no spell slot or components, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it this way again. Your spellcasting ability for the spell is the ability increased by this feat. If you have spell slots of 2nd level or higher, you can cast this spell with them.

Telepathic is a reasonably strong feat for any character who has cleared their Ability Score benchmarks.

Telekinetic UTILITY

  • You learn to move things with your mind, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You learn the Mage Hand cantrip. You can cast it without verbal or somatic components, and you can make the spectral hand invisible. If you already know this spell, its range increases by 30 feet when you cast it. Its spellcasting ability is the ability increased by this feat.
  • As a bonus action, you can try to telekinetically shove one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. When you do so, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + the ability modifier of the score increased by this feat) or be moved 5 feet toward or away from you. A creature can willingly fail this save.

Telekinetic is really cool and fun. The low priority of mental ability scores for the Paladin can be limiting since the DC of the shove action is going to be based on one of those scores.

However, it still provides a pretty good amount of utility with the ability to move things without any really noticeable components to trace back to the Paladin.

Polearm Master OFFENSIVE

  • You gain the following benefits:
  • When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.
  • While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter the reach you have with that weapon.

Polearm Master is an extremely fun feat, in my opinion. It basically turns any character wielding a polearm with Reach into a Large creature since they take a swing at an opportunity attack at any character that comes within 10 feet of them.

For a Paladin, this can be an extremely strong offensive and defensive capability, allowing you to control the space around you more effectively and protect your allies while dealing extra damage to creatures moving around you.

Durable DEFENSIVE

  • Hardy and resilient, you gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Constitution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, the minimum number of hit points you regain from the roll equals twice your Constitution modifier (minimum of 2).

Really the biggest problem with Durable is that its effect is so niche. When most characters regain hit points, they’re going to be doing it via healing which doesn’t use their Hit Die.

Really this is only going to be effective for Short Rests, which isn’t useless but doesn’t really outweigh the nicheness of its uses.

Eldritch Adept UTILITY

  • Studying occult lore, you have unlocked eldritch power within yourself: you learn one Eldritch Invocation option of your choice from the warlock class. If the invocation has a prerequisite, you can choose that invocation only if you’re a warlock and only if you meet the prerequisite.
  • Whenever you gain a level, you can replace the invocation with another one from the warlock class.

Not being able to choose any Eldritch Invocations that have prerequisites shaves the list of possibilities down quite a bit, but there are a few really strong options that can be considered.

Devil’s Sight, Eldritch Sight, Eyes of the Rune Keeper, and Gaze of Two Minds all have incredible utility potential for the player in gameplay.

Alert DEFENSIVE / OFFENSIVE

  • Always on the lookout for danger, you gain the following benefits:
  • You can’t be surprised while you are conscious.
  • You gain a +5 bonus to initiative.
  • Other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being hidden from you.

Alert has some really interesting points; the bonus +5 to initiative and inability to have enemies be hidden from you are incredibly good for tanking as well as providing some offensive utility.

If you already have 20 Strength and Constitution it could be a worthwhile dip, but it isn’t going to give you nearly as much defensive or offensive output as some other options.

Metamagic Adept UTILITY

  • You’ve learned how to exert your will on your spells to alter how they function:
  • You learn two Metamagic options of your choice from the sorcerer class. You can use only one Metamagic option on a spell when you cast it, unless the option says otherwise. Whenever you reach a level that grants the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can replace one of these Metamagic options with another one from the sorcerer class.
  • You gain 2 sorcery points to spend on Metamagic (these points are added to any sorcery points you have from another source but can be used only on Metamagic). You regain all spent sorcery points when you finish a long rest.

For casting-heavy Paladins, Metamagic Adept can provide interesting effects for them such as Twinned Spell and Distant Spell. Even, with only two per day it helps the Paladin get more use out of their fifteen spell slots.

Grappler OFFENSIVE / UTILITY

  • You’ve developed the skills necessary to hold your own in close-quarters grappling. You gain the following benefits:
  • You have advantage on attack rolls against a creature you are grappling.
  • You can use your action to try to pin a creature grappled by you. To do so, make another grapple check. If you succeed, you and the creature are both restrained until the grapple ends.

Grappling can be a great utility tool for any melee class, both to provide more openings to an attack as well as being able to defend allies by physically ripping an enemy off of them.

That being said, the Paladin’s reliance on melee weapon attacks make this a weaker choice for Paladin than, say, fighter.

Martial Adept OFFENSIVE / DEFENSIVE / UTILITY

  • You have martial training that allows you to perform special combat maneuvers. You gain the following benefits.
  • You learn two maneuvers of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype in the fighter class. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).
  • You gain one superiority die, which is a d6 (this die is added to any superiority dice you have from another source). This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.

Martial Adept gives minor access to the Battle Master’s Maneuver system, which can be great for a Paladin but only having access to one Maneuver per fight takes away a lot of its use in optimised gameplay.

Artificer Initiate UTILITY / OFFENSIVE

  • You’ve learned some of an artificer’s inventiveness:
  • You learn one cantrip of your choice from the Artificer spell list, and you learn one 1st-level spell of your choice from that list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • You can cast this feat’s 1st-level spell without a spell slot, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again. You can also cast the spell using any spell slots you have.
  • You gain proficiency with one type of artisan’s tools of your choice, and you can use that type of tool as a spellcasting focus for any spell you cast that uses Intelligence as its spellcasting ability.

Artificer Initiate is another weird one in that it doesn’t have immediate synergy with the Paladin skill set but can still be a very powerful tool for the Paladin.

Because the spellcasting ability has to be Intelligence, there’s not going to be much firepower behind any damaging spells you choose.

Choosing non-damaging, utility spells like Mage Hand, Detect Magic, or Identify provides huge utility in the form of a free cast of Detect Magic or Identify per day.

Athlete UTILITY

  • You have undergone extensive physical training to gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When you are prone, standing up uses only 5 feet of your movement.
  • Climbing doesn’t cost you extra movement.
  • You can make a running long jump or a running high jump after moving only 5 feet on foot, rather than 10 feet.

Athlete is a really good feat for campaigns that utilise a lot of harsh terrain but its effects really don’t have a whole lot of use outside of it.

Suppose you have 20 Constitution and 19 Strength.

In that case, this could be a really interesting dip to get through challenging terrain but is ultimately less optimal than Slasher, Crusher, or Piercer in such a situation.

Chef UTILITY

  • Time and effort spent mastering the culinary arts has paid off. You gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Constitution or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with cook’s utensils if you don’t already have it.
  • As part of a short rest, you can cook special food, provided you have ingredients and cook’s utensils on hand. You can prepare enough of this food for a number of creatures equal to 4 + your proficiency bonus. At the end of the short rest, any creature who eats the food and spends one or more Hit Dice to regain hit points regains an extra 1d8 hit points.
  • With one hour of work or when you finish a long rest, you can cook a number of treats equal to your proficiency bonus. These special treats last 8 hours after being made. A creature can use a bonus action to eat one of those treats to gain temporary hit points equal to your proficiency bonus.

Okay, so, in the grand scheme of roleplay feats, Chef is one of the better ones because a few temporary hit points and some bonus healing during a short rest are actually pretty okay.

The extra Constitution also helps offset the missing Ability Score Increase for the Paladin. Ultimately, this is far from optimal and more of a roleplay option than a gameplay one.

Defensive Duelist DEFENSIVE

  • When you are wielding a finesse weapon with which you are proficient and another creature hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC for that attack, potentially causing the attack to miss you.

The biggest drawback here is that you need to have a Dexterity score of at least 13 and have to be wielding a Finesse weapon. Defensive Duelist was really made with melee Dexterity classes in mind but isn’t wholly lost on Paladins either.

After all, there’s nothing preventing you from wielding a Finesse weapon, as Finesse allows you to choose whether you use Strength or Dexterity when you attack.

If you already have the Dexterity to utilize it, it can be a strong pickup to add your defensive survivability. That said, it probably isn’t worth dumping Ability Score Increases into it to get access to it.

Observant UTILITY

  • Quick to notice details of your environment, you gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • If you can see a creature’s mouth while it is speaking a language you understand, you can interpret what it’s saying by reading its lips.
  • You have a +5 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) and passive Intelligence (Investigation) scores.

Reading lips is cool but can be niche with the number of languages commonly spoken in the Forgotten Realms. However, the +5 to passive Perception and Investigation scores can be extremely powerful in the right hands and situations.

Dual Wielder OFFENSIVE

  • You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:
  • You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.
  • You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one handed melee weapons you are wielding aren’t light.
  • You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.

For Paladins who don’t want to use a shield or heavy weapon, Dual Wielder can be a great feat to help balance out your need for survivability with damage. Also, Dual Wielding just looks so cool.

Linguist UTILITY

  • You have studied languages and codes, gaining the following benefits:
  • Increase your Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You learn three languages of your choice.
  • You can ably create written ciphers. Others can’t decipher a code you create unless you teach them, they succeed on an Intelligence check (DC equal to your Intelligence score + your proficiency bonus), or they use magic to decipher it.

Whilst the Intelligence score increase is pretty negligible for the Paladin, three extra languages and the ability to create written cyphers is actually a pretty powerful tool in the right hands and situation.

Tavern Brawler OFFENSIVE

  • Accustomed to the rough-and-tumble fighting using whatever weapons happen to be at hand, you gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Consititution score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You are proficient with improvised weapons.
  • Your unarmed strike uses a d4 for damage.
  • When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike or an improvised weapon on your turn, you can use a bonus action to attempt to grapple the target.

I love Tavern Brawler for its flavor, but truthfully you’re not going to see much use for it as a Paladin.

It gives some leeway if you happen to get disarmed but doesn’t have much offensive use since the Paladin will mostly be looking to deal damage with their melee weapon that they brought to the fight.

Keen Mind UTILITY

  • You have a mind that can track time, direction, and detail with uncanny precision. You gain the following benefits.
  • Increase your Intelligence score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You always know which way is north.
  • You always know the number of hours left before the next sunrise or sunset.
  • You can accurately recall anything you have seen or heard within the past month.

Intelligence isn’t really a particularly important stat for Paladins. Aside from giving you a somewhat photographic memory, this feat does not provide much that the Paladin can use outside of roleplay.

Inspiring Leader UTILITY

  • You can spend 10 minutes inspiring your companions, shoring up their resolve to fight. When you do so, choose up to six friendly creatures (which can include yourself) within 30 feet of you who can see or hear you and who can understand you. Each creature can gain temporary hit points equal to your level + your Charisma modifier. A creature can’t gain temporary hit points from this feat again until it has finished a short or long rest.

Inspiring Leader has more roleplay than gameplay potential; the few extra hit points aren’t really going to be worth it, especially since Paladins aren’t going to be putting a lot of points into their Charisma score.

Skulker UTILITY

  • You are an expert at slinking through shadows. You gain the following benefits:
  • You can try to hide when you are lightly obscured from the creature from which you are hiding.
  • When you are hidden from a creature and miss it with a ranged weapon attack, making the attack doesn’t reveal your position.
  • Dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight.

Skulker does not avoid the disadvantage that you incur from wearing heavy armor and as a Paladin, you probably won’t be making many ranged weapon attacks from cover and then ducking back behind the cover.

Not exactly good in terms of gameplay, but you could definitely have some roleplay potential here.

Dungeon Delver UTILITY

  • Alert to the hidden traps and secret doors found in many dungeons, you gain the following benefits:
  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks made to detect the presence of secret doors.
  • You have advantage on saving throws made to avoid or resist traps.
  • You have resistance to the damage dealt by traps.
  • You can search for traps while traveling at a normal pace, instead of only at a slow pace

Dungeon Delver is, honestly, not that great to begin with, gameplay-wise, and unfortunately, the raw power of the Paladin class is not enough to make it better. 

Actor UTILITY

  • Skilled at mimicry and dramatics, you gain the following benefits:
  • Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You have an advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Performance) checks when trying to pass yourself off as a different person.
  • You can mimic the speech of another person or the sounds made by other creatures. You must have heard the person speaking, or heard the creature make the sound, for at least 1 minute. A successful Wisdom (Insight) check contested by your Charisma (Deception) check allows a listener to determine that the effect is faked.

Though the Charisma boost isn’t horrible on Paladins who have already maxed out their Strength and Constitution scores, you’re really losing out on so many other great feats for something that – even while great for some roleplay scenarios – isn’t going to net you much for your Paladin.

Poisoner OFFENSIVE

  • You can prepare and deliver deadly poisons, gaining the following benefits:
  • When you make a damage roll, you ignore resistance to poison damage.
  • You can coat a weapon in poison as a bonus action, instead of an action.
  • You gain proficiency with the poisoner’s kit if you don’t already have it. With one hour of work using a poisoner’s kit and expending 50 gp worth of materials, you can create a number of doses of potent poison equal to your proficiency bonus. Once applied to a weapon or piece of ammunition, the poison retains its potency for 1 minute or until you hit with the weapon or ammunition. When a creature takes damage from the coated weapon or ammunition, that creature must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or take 2d8 poison damage and become poisoned until the end of your next turn.

Poisoner is kind of a really cool concept, but the price is pretty steep for a save as low as 14. At lower levels, it’s really just a 30% chance to waste 50 gold. That’s 1/4 of the cost to buy an elephant.

Not to mention, that number changes as enemies get stronger.

Unless you need it for roleplay purposes, rather than taking Poisoner, you could take Mounted Combatant and use the 200 gold you would use for Poisoner to buy an elephant and ride the elephant into combat!

Elemental Adept OFFENSIVE

  • When you gain this feat, choose one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder.
  • Spells you cast ignore resistance to damage of the chosen type. In addition, when you roll damage for a spell you cast that deals damage of that type, you can treat any 1 on a damage die as a 2.
  • You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do so, you must choose a different damage type.

Paladin is not a primary spellcaster and your primary damage dealing “spell” does not count as a spell and deals radiant damage, so it wouldn’t be affected by this anyway.

Sharpshooter OFFENSIVE

  • You have mastered ranged weapons and can make shots that others find impossible. You gain the following benefits:
  • Attacking at long range doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged weapon attack rolls.
  • Your ranged weapon attacks ignore half and three-quarters cover.
  • Before you make an attack with a ranged weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If that attack hits, you add +10 to the attack’s damage.

You cannot use Divine Smite on a ranged weapon attack, nor will you get any use at all out of the Paladin’s incredible defensive and tanking abilities whilst using a ranged weapon.

War Caster UTILITY

  • You have practiced casting spells in the midst of combat, learning techniques that grant you the following benefits:
  • You have advantage on Constitution saving throws that you make to maintain your concentration on a spell when you take damage.
  • You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.
  • When a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.

Whilst at first glance it seems useful to be able to cast a spell while holding a weapon and shield, Mike Mearls clarified on Twitter that this rule was intended more for DMs to gain control of players looking to abuse certain mechanics.

He ruled that Paladins, Clerics, and even Bards could simply stow their weapon in the shield hand and gesture with their now-free weapon hand.

Thus, using this ruling, War Caster loses its appeal for Paladins, especially since they don’t have many spell slots, to begin with.

Using them on an opportunity attack spell is significantly less optimal than making a melee attack against them.

Crossbow Expert OFFENSIVE

  • Thanks to extensive practice with the crossbow, you gain the following benefits:
  • You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
  • When you use the Attack action and attack with a one handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a hand crossbow you are holding.

You do not need this for the same reason you do not need Sharpshooter:  you are missing out on Divine Smite if you are relying on ranged weapons.

Gunner OFFENSIVE

  • You have a quick hand and keen eye when employing firearms, granting you the following benefits:
  • Increase your Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with firearms (see “Firearms” in the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
  • You ignore the loading property of firearms.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.

Gunner runs into all the same issues as Crossbow Expert or any other ranged-focused feat.

Medium Armor Master UTILITY

  • You have practiced moving in medium armor to gain the following benefits:
  • Wearing medium armor doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  • When you wear medium armor, you can add 3, rather than 2, to your AC if you have a Dexterity of 16 or higher.

Realistically, your Paladin will never wear medium armor unless it’s for roleplay purposes, as Paladins are most likely to be in the frontlines where they can get as many Divine Smites off as possible. But, at least you actually get something.

Lightly Armoured DEFENSIVE

  • You have trained to master the use of light armor, gaining the following benefits.
  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with light armor.

Paladins naturally have proficiency with all armor, including Light Armour, so this is just an Ability Score Increase that only provides you with one point instead of two.

Not to mention, not using your ability to wear Heavy Armour really does waste the Paladin’s tanking ability.

Moderately Armored DEFENSIVE

  • You have trained to master the use of medium armor and shields, gaining the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with medium armor and shields.

Paladins come front-loaded with Medium Armour and Shields proficiency, so this is just another bad version of a regular Ability Score Increase when taken by a Paladin.

Heavily Armored DEFENSIVE

  • You have trained to master the use of heavy armor, gaining the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Like its predecessors in this tier, you already have proficiency with heavy armor as a Paladin, making this a worse version of an Ability Score Increase. Not to be confused with Heavy Armor Master, which is very good for Paladins.

Weapon Master OFFENSIVE

  • You have practiced extensively with a variety of weapons, gaining the following benefits:
  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with four weapons of your choice. Each one must be a simple or a martial weapon.

Paladins already have proficiency with all simple and martial weapons. So this feat doesn’t actually give you anything. Like the others in this tier, it really just robs you of one of your Ability Score Increase points.

In Conclusion…

There are so many great feats in Dungeons & Dragons, but alas, no feat can be good for every class, and some will just not fit well with your class.

That said, there are a wide array of fantastic feats for your Paladin, whether you’re looking for flavor to add to your roleplay or an optimized addition to your high stats.

There’s an essential place in every team for all different characters, and finding the proper mesh of feats and skills to build the character you want to portray is a critical part of the D&D experience. Happy questing!