Published on March 12, 2022, Last modified on April 6th, 2022
Paladin's Shield - Wizards of the Coast - Alayna Danner
Table of Contents
What is Sentinel in 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, Polearm Master 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.
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.
- Echo Knights get to trigger this feat for their echoes, not just themselves.
- This extends to mirror images too.
- Sentinel’s third ability will trigger if an enemy makes an opportunity attack.
Which Classes Make the Most of Sentinel?
The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Sentinel feat is for a specific class/subclass.
- Black is typically ineffective or doesn’t work well with this feat.
- Red is usually detrimental or entirely useless for a character build.
- Orange is an OK option.
- Green is a good option.
- Blue is an excellent option, and you should probably pick up this feat if you choose this class.
- Sky Blue is a fantastic option, and this is among the best choices if you want to make the most optimal build.
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.
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.