Published on March 12, 2022, Last modified on May 24th, 2022
Paladin's Shield - Wizards of the Coast - Alayna Danner
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What Is Sentinel 5e?
Standing guard with steely eyes, those with the Sentinel feat keep their eyes and ears ready to respond to an enemy’s movement at any time. This feat has been one of the most problematic feats out there, thanks to its flexibility for any melee class and how it can pair with Polearm Master to lock enemies in place forever.
How Does Sentinel Work?
Once you pick up this feat, you get three benefits:
No matter what, if a creature leaves your reach, they provoke an opportunity attack from you. This includes disengaging.
Whenever you hit an enemy with an attack of opportunity, their movement becomes zero for the rest of the turn.
If a creature makes an attack against a target other than you, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against the attacking creature. This doesn’t trigger if the attacked creature also has Sentinel.
This feat really wants to keep you in action at all times and be able to react to the enemy’s movements and manipulate the field.
Is Sentinel Good?
In our 5e Feats Tier List, Sentinel was given an A Tier rating, making it an excellent pickup for specific classes.
Sentinel is a great pickup for tanks that will be heading to the front lines. Usually, because their AC and HP is so high, enemies will focus on squishier party members.
Sentinel allows you to get close to an enemy and keep them away from your party members. If they happen to get an attack off, you can use your reaction (only one per round, but hey, it’s free attacks) to hit them for it.
Sentinel 5e Interactions
The Sentinel feat adds a lot of complexity to battle, so there have been several strange interactions that come along with it, such as:
If you happen to have a reach longer than 5ft (such as with a polearm type weapon), this will trigger when an enemy leaves that distance.
Enemies that use the Fancy Footwork ability from Swashbucklers won’t trigger Sentinel.
The “flyby” trait for enemies won’t trigger Sentinel.
If an enemy is flying and their movement becomes zero (from this feat or others), they’ll fall out of the sky.
Sentinel’s third ability will trigger if an enemy makes an opportunity attack.
Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Sentinel?
The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Sentinel 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
Because Sentinel rewards players for being in melee range, it works best on those who are primarily going to be there anyway. Those who prefer ranged combat or spellcasting should skip this feat entirely.
Artificer: If you are working with a Guardian Armor or a Battle Smith, Sentinel will likely get you some extra melee attacks in. This will likely get outshone by the Guardian’s ability to pull creatures towards you and make an attack at 15th level.
Barbarian: Sentinel really shines on a barbarian. It reduces the options of enemies that are in your vicinity by restricting their movement and punishing them for trying to move away or attack someone else. Remember, you actually want to be attacked as a barbarian (as opposed to those attacks hitting your squishier teammates).
Bard: Most won’t typically want to be in melee range that much, so this feat doesn’t benefit them. College of Valor bards might find better use of this, but it’s still not perfect. Those who are in the College of Swords subclass will find better use out of this, as they’re a little better off with weapon attacks.
Cleric: This feat works well with almost all Cleric domains, as long as they prefer to be wading into battle. War Domain and Forge Domain will especially prefer this feat, as they’re guaranteed to be up close and personal.
Druid: Druids aren’t usually in the front lines unless they plan on Wild Shaping for combat. Typical druid builds can probably skip this feat, but this works great for tanky Circle of the Moon builds. This works especially well with creatures with reach attacks
Fighter: Kings of battlefield manipulation, all fighters love this feat! It pairs well with Polearm Master to lock down enemies in combat, and they get plenty of melee combat action. Almost any fighter can use this, with Echo Knights favoriting it a little more because it works with their echoes.
Monk: If you want to keep your enemies locked down and reduce their mobility, Sentinel comes in handy. Usually characters will Sentinel can get focused on in combat, which the monk's mediocre hit die might struggle with.
Paladin: Sentinel is an amazing way to get extra attacks as a paladin, which means more smiting. Enemies will likely focus on squishier teammates rather than the buffed-out paladin in full platemail, Sentinel allows you to come to your party's aid in those circumstances. This feat works very thematically with the Oath of the Crown subclass and can be paired with Polearm Master for a devastating combo.
Ranger: Some might like this if they prefer to be in melee range, but it’s not a do-or-die pick. They can get plenty of use from this feat and it works well with the extra damage from hunter's mark, but overall it doesn’t add much to the class to make it a perfect pair.
Rogue: Sentinel is great for rogues who like to be in the middle of the fray, allowing them to perform more Sneak Attacks and immobilize enemies. Unfortunately, they will likely be the target of enemy attacks more often than an ally with a high AC. Make sure you position yourself strategically to take advantage of this!
Sorcerer: Sorcerers don't want anything to do with melee combat so this feat provides no value.
Warlock: Most warlocks don't want anything to do with melee combat so this feat provides no value. Hexblade warlocks can get some value because of the extra damage from hex but feats like Great Weapon Master will provide more value.
Wizard: Wizards don't want anything to do with melee combat so this feat provides no value. Even Bladesingers don't get a ton of value from this feat and would be better off with other feats that highlight their mobility.
Sentinel is one of the most difficult feats for inexperienced DMs to deal with, as it opens up a variety of situations that render enemy movement impossible. On the other hand, players will pick this feat up almost all the time, thanks to its versatility in all melee classes.
What are your thoughts about the Sentinel feat? Does it need to be errata’d for Polearm Master, or just nerfed? Tell us how you feel in the comments, and keep your guard up.
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Jeff Nabors has been playing D&D ever since he stumbled upon the 3.5E core books in his high school library. When he isn’t running a campaign or designing a game, you can find him on Twitch, writing about game design, or staring off into the endless abyss.