Medium Armor Master 5e

Published on August 14, 2023

Do you want to move stealthily in what’s essentially full plate armor? Check out the Medium Armor Master feat!

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What Is Medium Armor Master 5e?

Medium Armor Master is a feat for those who wish to gain the utmost benefit from wearing medium armor. With this feat, not only can you increase your Armor Class (AC) without being bogged down, but you can also move stealthily without disadvantage. This feat is perfect for those who want the protection of armor without sacrificing their agility or stealth capabilities.

How Does Medium Armor Master Work?

This feat provides the following benefits:

  • When wearing medium armor that normally imposes disadvantage on your Dexterity (Stealth) checks, you can ignore this penalty.
  • You can add 3, rather than 2, to your AC if you have a Dexterity modifier of at least +3 (Dexterity 16 or higher).

Let’s delve deeper into these benefits:

Some medium armors (scale mail and half plate) impose a disadvantage on stealth checks. With this feat, you can move quietly and remain hidden even in half plate. Seeing as the breastplate is medium armor, provides the same AC as scale mail, and doesn’t provide disadvantage on Stealth checks, this is really only applicable when:

  1. You don’t have enough money to afford a breastplate (400 gp) over scale mail (50 gp)
  2. You want to wear half plate (15 + Dexterity modifier (max 2)) to boost your AC by 1

This ability also allows characters with high Dexterity to benefit more from wearing medium armor. Instead of the usual +2 Dexterity bonus to AC, you can now add up to +3. This is a decent bonus, as AC increases in D&D 5e are hard to come by.

So, in a perfect circumstance, this feat can net you +2 AC, as long as you don’t want to wear heavy armor and are stacked into Dexterity. Is this worth it? Let’s explore.

Is Medium Armor Master Good?

In our 5e Feats Tier List, Medium Armor Master was given a B Tier rating, making it a niche feat that can improve some builds in D&D 5e.

This isn’t a terrible feat, it is just limited by which classes actually want to use it. Because you have to have proficiency with medium armor, this limits the pool of eligible classes. Additionally, most of the classes that have medium armor proficiency would rather use heavy armor (fighters, clerics, and paladins). Then, you have the classes that have medium armor proficiencies but are unsure if they can use it (barbarians, druids). The more you look at it, the more you realize that this feat will only be picked up a few specific builds.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Medium Armor Master?

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Medium Armor Master 5e feat is for a specific class/subclass.

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Artificer: Not a terrible option for Alchemists, Artillerist, or Battle Smiths who want to boost their AC. Armorers can skip this because they gain access to heavy armor proficiencies.

Barbarian: This could be a decent option for barbarians who want to focus into maxing their Strength while still having a decent AC. If you get your Dexterity to +3 and pick up half plate armor, you'll have an AC of 18 (20 with a shield). In order to match this with Unarmored Defense, you'd need to have a +5 in Constitution while still maintaining the +3 in Dexterity. While this isn't necessarily out of the question, it will take more resources and won't be available until the 12th level, even if you're devoting all your ASIs to getting there.

Bard: Can't be used with most bards, but Valor or Swords bards looking for a bit of extra AC will be well suited as they normally stack into Dexterity.

Cleric: Not a terrible option for non-heavy armor clerics who want to boost their AC.

Druid: This is a tough one for druids, who can certainly use this feat to gain access to higher AC if they're stacked in Dexterity. See, most medium armor is made of metal, which druids won't wear. If you work with your DM to get access to armor similar to half plate while still being made of wood, you can easily get your druid to a baseline 20 AC: 15 (non-metal half plate) + 3 (Dexterity) + 2 (wooden shield) = 20.

Fighter: Most fighters will just go with heavy armor because it provides the most protection for the least investment. Dexterity-based fighters who don't want to invest in Strength at all can use this feat to boost their AC to heavy armor levels while still maintaining their stealthiness.

Monk: Monks don't get proficiency in medium armor.

Paladin: Paladins don't really have a viable Dexterity build, so you're much better off going with heavy armor.

Ranger: Rangers are martials that are usually best off going for Dexterity over Strength. They also get proficiency with medium armor but not heavy armor. This makes Medium Armor Master a great way to boost AC while still maintaining your stealthiness.

Rogue: Rogues don't get proficiency in medium armor.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers don't get proficiency in medium armor.

Warlock: Warlocks don't get proficiency in medium armor.

Wizard: Wizards don't get proficiency in medium armor.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Adamantine best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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