Skill Expert 5e

Published on March 12, 2022, Last modified on May 26th, 2022

Skill Expert allows builds to pick up a skill expertise that don’t normally have access to this feature. This allows for a more rounded build across different areas of play in D&D 5e.

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What Is Skill Expert 5e?

Skill checks make up the mechanical bulk of Dungeons & Dragons, as this is how players interact with the world around them. As you would expect, the more skills you are proficient in, the better. Within Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, we saw a new way to gain expertise in a skill without being a specific class: the Skill Expert feat.

How Does Skill Expert Work?

After you choose Skill Expert, you get three stellar benefits:

  • Increase any of your ability scores by one, though the maximum of 20 still applies
  • You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
  • Pick a skill you are proficient in. You now have expertise with that skill, meaning your proficiency bonus is doubled. The restriction on this is that it cannot be a skill that is already benefiting from a different feat or class ability that would double it.

This allows you to double down on a useful skill, making it even better than before. However, the skill can’t already be getting any benefits elsewhere.

Is Skill Expert Good?

In our 5e Feats Tier List, Skill Expert was given an A Tier rating, making it an excellent pickup for specific classes.

A slightly better version of the Prodigy feat, but not quite good enough to push it into the S Tier. Essentially, this is Prodigy, but instead of a free tool and language, you get an ASI. It also can apply to any race, not just half races.

Skill Expert 5e Interactions

Things can get a little hairy with this feat, as there are a lot of class features that boost your skill levels. Still, there is only one hard rule to remember with this feat: You can only add or multiply your proficiency bonus once each for any roll, so it doesn’t stack with other ways to gain expertise or ways to boost your skill.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Skill Expert?

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

Skill Expert is best on builds that:

  • Require a specific skill for their builds and can’t get proficiency or expertise in another way
  • Want to become more flexible with their skill options
  • Want an ASI but also the effects of a feat

Artificer: Because of how flexible this class is, Skill Expert can work for just about any artificer build. It's a stellar pick for anyone who doesn't need a specific feat first, though in most cases artificers should try to get to 20 INT as quickly as possible. If you are going to be making tinkering checks using Sleight of Hand this is useful for doubling your proficiency bonus.

Barbarian: Barbarians usually aren’t the most useful class outside of combat, so many skills won’t be useful to have boosted. There are also better feats for barbarians to improve their combat prowess like Sentinel or Great Weapon Master.

Bard: Bards are one of the classes that are often relied on to succeed on skill checks outside of combat. With the class feature Jack of all Trades and bards already receiving expertise at 3rd and 10th level, this feat is a solid pick. You can’t pick the same skill twice, but you can heavily specialize in a few that you want to guarantee results.

Cleric: There is one particular domain that Skill Expert synergizes particularly well with. Knowledge Domain clerics get access to select two skills, gain proficiency, and double their proficiency, which works as a pseudo-expertise. Skill Expert allows you to choose a third skill to double your proficiency with, while also giving you an ASI. For the rest of the cleric builds out there, +1 to WIS and expertise in Perception is absolutely worth the effort of taking this feat.

Druid: While expertise is always helpful, druids have Wild Shape and plenty of spells to allow for utility outside of combat. That said, doubling your proficiency for Stealth or Perception checks is never a bad thing.

Fighter: Fighters probably don’t want this as their first feat as their main role in a party is to kill stuff. It’s excellent in the long run, but there are so many other feats fighters would want first, such as Sharpshooter, Sentinel, or Great Weapon Master depending on your build.

Monk: Being so multi-ability dependent (MAD) makes utility feats difficult to rationalize for monks. That said, Skill Expert allows you to pump either DEX or WIS, while also picking up an expertise in a vital skill, like Stealth or Perception. If you want to have a more well rounded monk out of combat, this isn't the worst pickup.

Paladin: Paladins have way too many better feats to pick up first. Unless you’re going for a niche build, you probably only want to consider this if your campaign gets to level 12 or higher.

Ranger: This helps rangers specialize in a specific area, like Survival, Nature, Perception, or Stealth, which is excellent as they are pretty flexible in what they can offer a party. It is not the first choice, but handy.

Rogue: Rogues get tons of Expertise and proficiencies, so this is great if you want to rock skill checks. Having three skill expertise will allow you to double your proficiency with Stealth, Perception, and one of the face skills, which can make you a massive asset outside of combat.

Sorcerer: I wouldn’t rely on this feat unless you’re going for a specific use case. You’re usually better off casting spells to solve your problems than relying on a skill check.

Warlock: Warlocks should look at feats that give them extra ways to cast spells or to make their cast spells more useful as they have very limited spell slots.

Wizard: Like sorcerers, wizards don’t stand to benefit much from this feat and often use spells to overcome obstacles.

Skill Expert 5e FAQs

What is skill expertise?

A few class abilities grant skill expertise, and it allows you to double your proficiency bonus in one skill.

Does expertise stack?

Unfortunately, you can only benefit from one instance of expertise per skill.

Can you take Skill Expert twice?

Sadly, no. The hard rule in Dungeons and Dragons 5e is that players can take no feat more than once unless specifically allowed in the feat’s description.

Conclusion

It’s always nice to see more non-combat feat options, as many players put too much focus on combat encounters over everything else. This feat is passable on almost any class, save those with particular builds that need certain feats to get them off the ground.

How do you feel about Skill Expert? Do you find it too general to be useful, or maybe you let someone get too powerful in your playgroup? Let us know in the comments!

Jeff Nabors

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.

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