For DnD enthusiasts out there, feats are a big deal. As for those who just started, feats are optional choices in Dungeons and Dragons that let players like you customize characters with special training and unique abilities. You will have numerous feats to choose from, but note that not all feats go well with all builds. So, your feat choices must depend largely on your build type.
One such feat that catches much of our attention is the D&D 5E Shield Master feat. With this one, you can consider yourself a defensive expert. Imagine being able to block some spells and physical attacks coming your way – that’s what this feat grants you.
Shield Master Feat Explained
With the D&D Shield Master, you can become more versatile while wielding a shield. Therefore, you can enjoy both defensive and offensive abilities along with ample tactical advantage that can be made good use of if strategized well.
Here are the rules of the D&D Shield Master feat, as laid down in the Player’s Handbook:
- “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.”
If you opt for the D&D 5E Shield Master, you will have access to otherwise unavailable sets of shield tactics which can be of great tactical advantage if used wisely. Here’s a look at the various shield tactics you can get:
- You can shove a creature with a bonus action. Shoving or knocking a character prone can prove to be quite deadly, in turn setting up your teammate for a terrific coup de grâce. With the ability to shove, you can also deal ample damage if you strategize well. If you find yourself in challenging geographical locations such as pools of lava, pitfalls, or deadly traps, a little shove can be fatal for your enemies.
- You can also use your shield to avert dangerous effects and spells. This can be a life savior when a deadly spell comes your way! The little extra defense can go a long way.
- You can use a reaction to avoid the detrimental effects of a few magical spells. Imagine emerging unharmed when a group of mages try burning your party to a crisp with a barrage of Fireballs.
These are not tactics you should neglect, for these can help you win a game. Use them wisely, and most importantly, plan ahead.
Shield Master Archetypes
If you are on the lookout for a classic sword and shield battle, the D&D Shield Master is the way to go. Alternatively, if you want to opt for dueling or defensive type playstyles, this feat still remains relevant. For defensive players, using Sentinel to stack the benefits of this feat is a good idea. Paladins looking for some extra mobility, take note. While Paladins already use their bonus action well, the ability to shove can bring creativity to the table.
If you want to use your environment to your advantage, the Shield Mastery feat can be a big help. Since there is no discernable limit to the number of times you can use shoving as a viable tactic in combat situations, you can go for strategic opportunities for a few special attacks. With this feat, every bridge, cliff, or even a cloudkill spell can turn advantageous very soon!.
The bottom line is that if you are going for a fighter-type build who would like to have their defenses sorted as well, there’s no better option than the D&D 5E Shield Master feat. Just make sure you read your opponents well, and you are aware of the possibilities offered by your immediate physical surroundings.
Good luck with your choice of feat and happy questing!