Second Chance 5e

Published on July 24, 2023

The adventuring life is full of surprises, and sometimes, you just need a second chance.

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What Is Second Chance 5e?

Second Chance is a feat that provides your character with the ability to dodge a potentially lethal blow. If you’ve ever got nailed with a huge critical hit and wanted a way to avoid that in the future, this feat can help you there. When an enemy lands an attack, Second Chance allows you to force that enemy to reroll with disadvantage, potentially turning a hit into a miss.

It’s like having a personal rewind button for those moments when things don’t go your way in combat.

How Does Second Chance Work?

On top of an ASI to Constitution, Dexterity, or Charisma, this feat provides a single, but potentially life-saving benefit:

When a creature hits you with an attack roll, you can use your reaction to force that creature to reroll. Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you roll initiative at the start of combat or until you finish a short or long rest.

Let’s break this down.

The ability to force a reroll when a creature hits you with an attack roll can literally be the difference between life and death. It’s essentially giving you a chance to turn a hit into a miss and can help you avoid huge damage when used against a critical hit.

While you can only use this once before it needs to recharge, it recharges every time you roll initiative, which means you’ll always get a usage of this per combat.


This is one of the racial feats introduced in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and is limited to characters with the halfling race.

Is Second Chance Good?

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

This half-feat allows you to make a target roll at disadvantage if they hit you. It’s an alright ability, but really only worth it if you have a high AC in the first place or are in a dungeon crawl-heavy campaign, where you’ll be rolling initiative multiple times a day

For casters, a defensive, reaction-based spell like shield, counterspell, or silvery barbs is likely going to be much more use of your reaction slot. For martial character, the Lucky feat will certainly provide more value. For example, the Lucky feat gives you 3 attempts to negate an attack against you and doesn’t require your reaction, it can also give you advantage on your attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Second Chance?

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Second Chance 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

This feat is best for marital characters who have a high AC. This is because those with a high AC can usually avoid “average” attacks from monsters, so if they’re forced to roll with disadvantage they’re more likely to miss. Caster or builds with light armor will more likely be hit by average rolls, so they’re best defense is to avoid attacks all-together or mitigate the damage they’re dealt.

Because halflings are a versatile starting race and good for wide variety of builds, the fact that this feat is locked behind the halfling race isn’t a huge deal.

Artificer: Not a bad feat for artificers, who have medium armor (sometimes heavy armor) and shields to boost their AC to respectable levels. Plus, Flash of Genius doesn't have any impact on attack rolls against you and some of the subclasses don't get access to the shield spell.

Barbarian: Barbarians usually aren't overly concerned with an attack landing. They're better off using their reaction for offense, like with the Sentinel or Polearm Master feats.

Bard: Bards have access to counterspell and silvery barbs, both of which are better than this feat.

Cleric: The ASIs aren't great for clerics and they likely won't benefit much from this unless they're in heavy armor and charging into battle.

Druid: The ASIs aren't great for druids and they will likely stay on the outside of combat, using their range and healing capabilities to keep them safe in combat.

Fighter: A pretty solid way to make your tanky fighter more tanky, especially if you'll be getting into fights often. This is a good opportunity to boost Constitution if you ended up with an odd score after character creation.

Monk: With the Dexterity boost, this can increase your AC and make you harder to hit, something that monks struggle with. Plus, with this ability, Deflect Missiles, and Evasion, you'll have ways to mitigate damage on direct melee attacks, ranged attacks, and area of effects attacks.

Paladin: A pretty solid way to make your tanky halfling paladin more tanky, especially if you'll be getting into fights often. This is a good opportunity to boost Charisma if you ended up with an odd score after character creation.

Ranger: Good way to boost Dexterity and gain access to a defensive option. Rangers don't have much use for their reaction, so this can give you a solid one.

Rogue: This isn't worth it as you have Uncanny Dodge that you can use every turn already.

Sorcerer: Good way to get Charisma and a defensive ability, but you have shield and counterspell, both of which are way better reactions.

Warlock: Good way to get Charisma and a defensive ability. Make sure to save your reaction for counterspell if you're battling a caster, cause they'll likely hit you harder than avoiding an enemy landing with a single attack.

Wizard: Wizards aren't interested in the ASIs this feat provides and they already have plenty of defensive, reaction-based spells.

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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