Shield Master 5e
Published on March 12, 2022, Last modified on April 14th, 2022
Want to get your Captain America on and start bashing enemies with your shield? Physic-defying vibranium shields might not be available in the worlds of D&D, but the Shield Master feat can get you part of the way there.
Colin Boyer - Wizards of the Coast - Battershield Warrior
Table of Contents
What is Shield Master in 5e?
Imagine yourself as you wade into battle, your bruised and battered shield in hand. An extension of your arm, just like your sword by your side. Together, you are one and the same, a force to be reckoned with.
Shields are an easy item to forget in most D&D games, as they tend to only offer a flat +2 to AC, and most class abilities don’t do much with them. However, there is a feat that brings it from subpar to superstar: Shield Master.
How does Shield Master work?
Once you pick up this feat, you gain three benefits as long as you’re wielding a shield:
- After you take the Attack action on your turn, you can then use a bonus action to shove a creature within 5 feet of you.
- Whenever you were to make a Dexterity saving throw to reduce damage to half, you can use your reaction to take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw.
- As long as you aren’t incapacitated, you can add your shield’s AC bonus to a Dexterity saving throw against something that only targets you.
Is Shield Master good?
In our 5e Feats Tier List, Shield Master was given an A Tier rating, making it an excellent pickup for specific classes.
Being able to shove with your shield as a bonus action is a huge benefit. Because you can choose to knock the shoved creature prone, as opposed to away from you, you can provide advantage on melee attack rolls to all of your other party members. Keep in mind, the specific wording around this feat states that this can only be done after you use the Attack action, which means you will not get advantage on attacks.
The defense bonuses from being able to add your shield’s AC to DEX saves is also stellar for dodging AoE damage. In addition, taking no damage when you succeed in DEX saves against damage makes your character even less likely to take lethal damage.
This is a very tempting feat for builds where tanking is everything.
Shield Master Interactions
There can be some interesting rulings that come along with this feat.
- You can attack, move, and then use the Shove action from this feat, but you must make the attack first.
- Shoves can push a foe away from you or make an enemy prone.
- If you have an Animated Shield, you will still gain all of the benefits of this feat, regardless of how far away it might be.
Which Classes Make the Most of Shield Master?
The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Shield Master 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.
Shield Master FAQ
Can I used the Shield Master bonus action Shove before an attack?
No. Seeing as the feat specifies 'If you take the Attack action on your turn', the Attack action must be made before the bonus action Shove.
Can I use the Shield Master Shove bonus action between attacks if I have extra attacks?
No. If you have extra attacks they are all taken as part of the Attack action. In order to use the Shield Master's bonus action Shove ability, you must use the Attack action first.
Keeping Your Guard Up
Any player who prefers to shield-bash and channel their inner Captain America or Leonidas will love this feat, not only for the flavor it adds but for the massive bump in survivability it offers. Not only that, but it also allows for some battlefield manipulation that is hard to come by as a bonus action.
How do you like Shield Master? Do you wish it worked differently? Let us know in the comments!