Mounted Combatant 5e

Published on March 12, 2022, Last modified on May 31st, 2022

Have you ever dreamed of riding your steed into battle, swinging down on your enemies as your charge through the fray? Mounted Combatant may be the feat for you.

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What Is Mounted Combatant 5e?

Using mounts in Dungeons and Dragons has always been relatively uncommon. While mounted combat isn’t much different from normal combat mechanically, it rarely seems to be used in games.

One of the feats in the Player’s Handbook is Mounted Combatant, and while it does make mounts more interesting and viable, is it worth taking?

How Does Mounted Combatant Work?

Whenever you’re mounted and not incapacitated, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can force an attack targeting your mount to target you instead.
  • If your mount would be subjected to an effect that would allow it to make a DEX saving throw to take only half damage, it takes no damage on a successful roll or half on a failed roll.
  • You have advantage on any attacks against a creature in a smaller size category than your mount.

Is Mounted Combatant Good?

We gave Mounted Combatant a C Tier rating In our 5e Feats Tier List, making it a below-average feat in D&D 5e.

This is a solid feat, but it needs a fair amount of setup in order to be effective. Because most mounts are quite squishy (Warhorses only have 19 hit points) even taking half damage from a fireball or dragon’s breath can be enough to finish it off.

This feat really shines for the paladin class because of find greater steed, and is really the only viable option for this feat.

Mounted Combatant 5e Interactions

While technically any creature can be a mount, the Player’s Handbook covers a good selection of creatures that are good candidates. The only restriction is that your mount must be at least one size category larger than you. Sorry, only gnomes can ride mastiffs into battle

Here are a few of the best options for mounts to choose from:

  • Riding horses are the standard mount and are easy to come by. Their main advantage is that they can move very quickly.
  • Elephants are the largest of your common options, and can therefore have a very high carrying capacity. They also have a stellar charging ability.
  • Warhorses are great for combat and offer an excellent hoof attack, but they are quite expensive, costing twice as much as an elephant.
  • Elk are also an option, though they can be ridden exclusively through the find steed spell. They offer similar stats to a warhorse but only cost a 2nd level spell slot.
  • Pegasus becomes an option for those with the find greater steed spell and offers an impressive 90ft flying speed, but at the cost of a 4th level spell slot.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Mounted Combatant?

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

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • 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

Mounted Combatant is best on builds that:

  • Are martial classes who want to increase their mobility on and off the battlefield.
  • Can almost always tank hits for their mount.
  • Can take a few hits and survive if dismounted.

Artificer: Artificers that are focusing on ranged combat should skip Mounted Combatant. Battle Smiths and Armorers, on the other hand, could make decent use of the extra movement options and extra advantage on attacks. If you are creature size Small, the Battle Smith’s Steel Defenders can be mounted, but seeing as the Defender's creature size is Medium, you won't be getting advantage on your attacks against the majority of creatures.

Barbarian: This option is decent for barbarians who want to ride into battle on a steed. That said, barbarians already get abilities to improve their movement and get advantage on their attacks, so Mounted Combatant isn't giving them anything particularly new.

Bard: Most bards don’t want to be up close for too long, except perhaps a College of Swords or College of Valor bard.

Cleric: Caster clerics will want to skip Mounted Combatant. Melee tank clerics such as War and Forge Domain can find this feat useful for movement and advantage on attacks, though will really put their d8 hit dice to the test once they have to start tanking for their steed.

Druid: Druids should pass on this feat. Why ride a horse when you can Wild Shape into a cheetah?

Fighter: Almost all fighters can benefit from this feat if they want to try mounted combat. Because fighters prefer to be in the thick of the fray, they will most likely have to redirect almost all attacks on their mount to themselves in order to keep it alive. Mounted fighters must be wary of powerful AoE attacks that target DEX saves because even a half damage from a dragon's Breath Weapon can kill most mounts. Obviously, cavaliers can get an incredible amount of utility out of this feat, as the subclass is all about mounted combat.

Monk: It would be quite the sight to see a mounted monk punching people on horseback. Unfortunately, monks will lose some of their much needed mobility if they fight on a mount in combat. Skip.

Paladin: Great option for paladins as they have exclusive access to the find steed and find greater steed spell. Even at lower levels, getting advantage on your attacks can lead to potent critical hit smite damage. Once you hit 13th level and gain access to 4th-level spells, the Pegasus from find greater steed can give you a massive advantage in combat.

Ranger: If you are a small creature (halfling or gnome) and take the Beast Master archetype, you can make your companion a bit more defensively inclined. You likely won’t get to use the advantage on melee attacks a whole lot because your companion is limited to a Medium creature.

Rogue: While the advantage on attacks from this feat may seem tempting, riding a mount will rending the rogue's Cunning Action useless and can paint a target on their back. While fighters and paladins may be able to tank for their mounts, rogues will be hard-pressed to do so.

Sorcerer: Nothing here for a sorcerer.

Warlock: Nothing here for a warlock.

Wizard: Nothing here for a wizard.

Conclusion

While we can’t all ride into battle like the Rohirrim, we can get pretty close with the Mounted Combatant feat. It provides just enough extra oomph to encourage mounted combat without being overpowered.

Do you have any favorite mounts in your campaigns? Tell us all your dramatic war horse stories in the comments below!

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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