Published on November 12, 2022, Last modified on November 24th, 2022
When you need to be ready to fight at a moments notice, Alert allows you to tune in to your surrounds to foil ambushes and get the first shot off in combat.
Randy Vargas - Wizards of the Coast - Alert Heedbonder
What Is Alert 5e?
Have you ever feel like you were being watched? Well, with Alert, you’re on high alert all the time. While not making outputting huge damage in combat, Alert is a passive feat that offers potent abilities. Getting a boost to initiative is relatively rare, with only a couple races—like the harengon—receiving a boost equal to their prof. modifier. Alert, on the other hand, offers a consistent +5 to initiative rolls, which means a 50% bonus to your initiative placements if you have a DEX modifier of 0. In the fifth edition of D&D, there are quite a few spells and abilities that are able to swing an encounter from “we’re doomed” to “this is fine”, so going first in initiative can easily be the difference between stomping an encounter and getting TPK’d.
This combines well with with Alert’s secondary and tertiary abilities, which allows you to avoid being surprised while your conscious and other creatures can’t gain advantage on attack rolls against you when you can’t see them.
How Does Alert Work?
You gain three abilities from taking Alert. First, creatures will never get a surprise round against you as long as your conscious. Second, you gain a flat +5 to initiative rolls. Last, when you can’t see attackers, they still don’t get advantage on their attacks against you.
Is Alert Good?
In our 5e Feats Tier List, Alert was given an A Tier rating, making it an excellent pickup for specific classes.
A +5 bonus to initiative is massive in 5e and going first in initiative can be a huge momentum swinger. The inability to be surprised and negating advantage from unseen attacks is something any character is happy to have. This feat is useful for nearly any build, but some builds are going to like it more than others, most notably the Assassin rogue.
Alert 5e Interactions
There are a couple interactions that stem the caveat of being conscious when taking into account surprise, and creatures attacking from unseen.
- If you are an elf and Trance or otherwise don’t sleep, like auto gnomes, it’s likely you will never be surprised.
- Creatures attacking from hiding don’t get advantage on attacks against you nor do invisible creatures. While rogues normally look for these opportunities to deal some sneak attack damage, they can also apply sneak attacks when their target has another enemy is within 5 feet of them, so this feat doesn’t completely stymie a rogue’s Sneak Attack ability.
Be On High Alert
Alert is a feat for builds that need to be combat-ready at a moments notice. Because of the swingy nature of 5e combat, a high initiative roll and strategically placed spell can turn the entire tides of the encounter. Have you use Alert in a build before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!