Last Updated on May 16, 2022
Artificers are my favorite class in 5e D&D. As masterful artisans, arcane scientists, and engineers of magical items, this character archetype brings such an exciting element into any campaign.
In addition to being incredibly cool, they’re also an incredibly versatile class.
They can wield powerful weapons with the same expertise that they cast spells, and they have the capability to create so many devices that aid them in their goals.
These half-casters present a unique way to combine game mechanics that set them entirely apart from other half-casters like the ranger and paladin classes.
With all of the different ways to engage in the world around you that this class offers, building an artificer character can be a bit of a rigorous process.
They really are a class made for people who want to put a lot of thought into creative solutions to problems. Naturally, it just makes sense that there would be some tough choices along the building process.
Here, we’re going to be focusing on which feats you should choose for your artificer. What special area of expertise makes the most sense for your armorer or battle smith? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Feats and Should I Pick One for My Artificer?
Feats are an optional level of character customization available as an alternative to ASIs (ability score increases). While not every character build will include a feat, optimized builds tend to make great use of them.
Artificers can definitely make use of several feats that compliment the archetype’s playstyles and goals.
There are currently over 50 regular feats that you can pick up with a small list of race-exclusive feats that give us even more options with which to work. Suffice to say, these character options aren’t in short supply.
For artificers, this amount of choice is absolutely perfect.
It means that while there are certainly options that work well with the class, there are also more than a few feats that compliment each subclass and each build within a subclass.
How Do Feats Work?
Artificers get to take an ASI at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels. An ASI allows you to either gain +2 in one ability score or +1 in two ability scores. Feats exist as an alternative option if you’re satisfied with your ability scores and would rather pick up some new abilities.
Artificers should definitely be making the most of their ASIs, using them to increase Intelligence and whichever secondary ability they utilize for their build.
However, they aren’t such a M.A.D. class that they’ll need to devote every ASI to its intended purpose.
Likely, if your rolls in character creation bring you anywhere near the standard array, you’ll be able to take the alternate choice of a feat at two or three of these levels.
You can also pick up an early feat by using the variant human race, who use feats in place of more strictly defined racial traits.
When you take a feat, it’s very similar to how you would normally gain a new class or subclass feature, and it tends to be pretty comparable in application.
A feat like Magic Initiate will give you access to some spells that artificers can’t typically get their hands on, while something like the Martial Adept or Fighting Initiate feat would give you access to features from the fighter class, improving your martial capabilities.
Before you take any feat, you should have a comfortable idea of what things your character wants to excel at.
An artificer who uses their infusions and spellcasting to become the ultimate support character won’t have a lot of use for a feat that lets you deal more damage on elemental spells.
Best Artificer Feats in 5e
With so many feats available, it can be tough to really narrow down your choices. We’ve hand picked several feats that really compliment the playstyle of your typical artificer and a few that are more finely tuned to specific builds.
If a feat isn’t mentioned here, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad; it just means that it’s not as broadly applicable as we want to see.
Feats like Telekinesis and Chef can be incredible if they fit into your character, but they’re not going to be at the top of the list for most artificers.
To make this process even easier, we’ve included our normal Black Citadel color-coded rating system.
- Red isn’t going to contribute to the power and effectiveness of your character build very much, if at all. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful and might make for an interesting narrative choice but are largely less effective than other tiers.
- Green is a good option – Solid but nothing special, OR pretty good but only useful sometimes.
- Blue is an excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective.
- Purple is S Tier. Hugely powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are strongly worth considering when you create your character.
Most of the feats we’ve selected will be blue or purple, but again, this is referring to the mechanical strength of a feat.
Just like there are some “bad” feats that are great in certain scenarios, there can be some S-tier feats that just don’t fit your character.
To provide one last bit of clarity, we’ve also tagged the feats with one of the following categories.
- OFFENSIVE: This is a feat that will help boost your damage or other offensive abilities.
- DEFENSIVE: This feat will improve your AC, defenses, hit points, or something similar.
- UTILITY: This feat expands on your noncombat or skill-based abilities. It also might be beneficial for supporting your allies.
- VERSATILE: This feat can work in several different ways, depending on the choices the player makes when gaining this feat and which build it’s being used in.
Without any further adieu, let’s get into it.
Martial Adept: Versatile
This feat is great for a lot of reasons. It gives you access to the entire list of battle maneuvers from the battle master subclass of fighter.
While you only learn two of them, there is a wealth of options available that can revolutionize your tactics in combat.
Battle masters make an excellent candidate for multiclassing, and any artificer who cares about dishing out damage, protecting their allies, or controlling the battlefield would be wise to pick up a few levels in the class.
However, the two most martial subclasses of artificer (battle smith and armorer) both utilize intelligence with most of their weapons, making it a bit more difficult to actually justify the multiclass dip.
This feat presents itself as a great alternative, allowing you to stay in your lane for ability scores while still picking up some really neat tricks.
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).
- If you already have superiority dice, you gain one more; otherwise, you have one superiority die, which is a d6. 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.
Fighting Initiate: Versatile
Much like the martial adept, this feat pulls a feature straight from the fighter class and gives you access to it without the need to devote a level to multiclassing.
In this feat, you get to grab up a fighting style, which can do a lot from bonuses on weapon attacks or AC to giving you ways to protect your allies.
This is one of those feats that’s really versatile enough to fit in just about any artificer build.
In fact, it’s almost surprising that artificers didn’t get their own version of this feature, seeing as both paladins and rangers have a number of fighting styles available to them through their main class.
The one hang up is that this requires proficiency with a martial weapon.
Your normal artificer only gets medium weapon proficiencies, so you’d only be able to take this if you have a martial-weapon proficiency through your race, subclass, or through some other feat.
Prerequisite: Proficiency with a martial weapon
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.
It could certainly be argued that this is a defensive feat since it protects you from being surprised.
Personally, I categorize this as a utility feat because it doesn’t directly affect your offensive or defensive capabilities, even if it can be a huge help in those areas.
So what does this do? Well, the alert feat gives you a huge bonus to your initiative rolls, protects you from being surprised, and even removes the advantage that unseen attackers would normally have against you.
This is an incredible feat, and there aren’t many characters who couldn’t benefit. The reason that I think it’s such a great choice for an artificer is that it easily makes sense with the archetype’s theme.
I could definitely see an artificer who has built some sort of early detection device.
Maybe it’s a heat sensor that tells you when creatures are nearby, or maybe you have a few magical “probe droids” floating around that relay signals to you.
The point is, there are plenty of immersive ways to describe this feat actually making sense for an artificer.
Always on the lookout for danger, you gain the following benefits:
- You gain a +5 bonus to initiative.
- You can’t be surprised while you are conscious.
- Other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you as a result of being unseen by you.
A lot of artificers can easily become tanky characters. Their affinity for powerful magical items along with the actual ability to create them means they probably have some pretty intense armors and weapons in their arsenal.
An artificer who engages in melee combat to this extent would definitely want to pick up the sentinel feat. It allows you to engage enemies by stopping them in their tracks.
If you hit someone with an opportunity attack, their movement speed is reduced to 0 for the turn. That pretty much means you get to trap enemies from escaping and encourage them to fight you.
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 within 5 feet of you 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.
Not all artificers get involved with melee combat so often. The versatility of this class means that you can use your spells, infusions, and other various skills to be an amazing long-ranged combatant.
Sharpshooter is just about essential if your primary weapon is ranged. It eliminates several obstacles that ranged weapons normally present and even gives you a way to deal some extra damage.
Perhaps most notably, this feat allows your ranged attacks to ignore half and three-quarters cover.
I can easily see this as some sort of homing missile you’ve constructed that actually just darts around any cover your enemies might have.
I should also note that crossbows are an excellent weapon for artificers, both thematically and mechanically. Picking up Crossbow Expert on top of this feat basically completes your build and gives you some really impressive abilities.
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 cover 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 the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack’s damage.
Normally, I avoid the skilled feat when talking about optimization.
Access to more skill proficiencies is great, but when we talk about optimized builds, there’s often a heavy focus on combat. For an artificer though, tools are everything.
This feat is going to net you proficiency in three skills or tools, and if you funnel them all into artisan’s tools, you’ll have a pretty nifty set of, well, skills.
Artificers thrive on the ability to whip up devices, potions, weapons, and more in their downtime, and quite simply, having more proficiencies makes that a lot easier to do.
You gain proficiency in any combination of three skills or tools of your choice.
Spell Sniper: Offensive
The spell sniper feat is the magical counterpart to sharpshooter. It makes your spell attacks (not saving-throw spells) much more potent and even gives you a new spell to throw into your arsenal.
Again, ignoring half and three-quarters cover makes perfect sense for an artificer whose spells are quite possibly the product of mechanical devices.
Your Magic Missile might be much more akin to Tony Stark’s homing darts or Din Djarin’s whistling birds than they are to anything Gandalf or Doctor Strange could produce.
I should note that when you take this feat, you’ll obviously want to choose your cantrip from the Wizard class so you can make use of your intelligence.
Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell
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, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.
Fey/Shadow Touched: Versatile
I’m lumping these two feats into one because they have a very similar design.
Both give you an increase to one of the mental ability scores (we’ll be choosing Intelligence). Both give you two spells – a predetermined spell and a 1st-level spell of your choice.
While these are certainly different feats, they both have a clear emphasis on stealthy traversal with a bit of whatever you’d like to do sprinkled in on top.
Gaining new spells is always great, especially for a half-caster with a limited suggestion, and being able to cast these new spells for free once a day is just incredible.
As a bonus, the locked-in spells are both excellent for artificers.
While our arcane scientists aren’t the stealthiest class, they certainly have enough tools in their arsenal to get around.
It makes perfect sense that an artificer might’ve spent some time coming up with cloaking technology or a short-distance teleporter.
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, which must be from the divination or enchantment school of magic. You can cast each of these spells without expending a spell slot, and 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 spellcasting ability is the ability increased by this feat.
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 Ist-level spell of your choice, which 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.
Fade Away: Versatile
This might seem like an interesting feat to include, since the prerequisite is that you are a part of the gnome race.
However, gnomes are hands down the best race for artificers, at least until custom ability scores really take over and you can pair up just about any race.
For now though, our gnomish artificers have access to this awesome feat.
First off, it’s going to give you a boost to either Intelligence or Dexterity, both great options. Then, it lets you use a reaction to become invisible when you take damage.
We’re right back to the cloaking-device concept going on, and mechanically, the ability to become invisible is huge.
This time though, we don’t have to worry about it getting tangled up in our spells and have the added benefit of doing it as a reaction.
Your people are clever with a knack for illusion magic. You have learned a magical trick for fading away when you suffer harm. You gain the following benefits:
- Increase your Dexterity or Intelligence score by 1 to a maximum of 20.
- Immediately after you take damage, you can use a reaction to magically become invisible until the end of your next turn or until you attack, deal damage, or force someone to make a saving throw. Once you use this ability, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
Artificers are an incredible class. Honestly, they don’t need any feats to do incredible things, but that doesn’t make this character option useless.
Feats are a great way to customize your character and gain access to unique abilities that really round out your build.
I hope you’re enjoying your time as a magical mechanic, and as always, happy adventuring.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.