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Sunday, June 19, 2022

D&D 5e fighting styles comparison: Tasha's Cauldron

This is a follow-up for my original post analyzing fighting styles from the PHB. I don't find much stuff in Tasha's Cauldron to interest me, but I like analyzing fighting styles, so here we go.

There is not much to say about these styles. They are mostly straightforward or open too many possibilities to analyze properly (for example, Blessed Warrior is good if you pick the right cantrips, but there are a lot of cantrips to choose from).

Some of them are "half feats" of some sort. For example, Blessed Warrior and Druidic Warrior are just weaker versions of Magic Initiate, and Superior Technique is a weaker Martial Adept. They allow you to change cantrips and techniques from time to time, which is nice.

This would be a good idea, IMO, if only to give more flexibility to "warrior" types - except that Tasha also introduces the Fighting Initiate feat, which only gives you one fighting style! This is baffling. And it is probably a horrible feat in most circumstances - except maybe for some Archery or Barbarian "build"

Oh well. Let's see what the new fighting styles are about.

Copyright WoTC.

Blessed Warrior (Paladin Only). Gives you a couple of cleric cantrips. This is a great choice if you have no cleric in your party, so you can get Guidance and Spare the Dying. Alternatively, you can get some ranged attack options (e.g. Toll the Dead from Xanathar's Guide to Everything).

A decent fighting style; I don't see why this must be limited to paladins, as I can easily imagine fighters, etc., being "blessed" without needing leveled spells - and having Guidance and Spare the Dying would be great for a "leader" archetype.

Blind Fighting. You have blindsight (10 feet), even when blinded etc., and can see invisible creatures unless they are hidden. Very flavorful, but very situational. Overall, I wouldn't recommended it.

Druidic Warrior (Ranger Only). Gives you a couple of druid cantrips. Exactly the same deal... Guidance still a good choice, maybe you can get Shillelagh or Magic Stone to get a magic weapon or ranged spell attack early on. But archery is hard to beat.

Again, I can see a "green knight" or Paladin (Ancients) as a druidic warrior, so not sure why this would be restricted to rangers.

Interception. When a creature you can see hits a target that is within 5 feet of you with an attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage the target takes by 1d10 + your proficiency bonus (to a minimum of 0 damage). You must be wielding a shield or a simple or martial weapon to use this reaction.

This is comparable to the Protection fighting style. As I've said, "very flavorful, but has some heavy downsides".... "it uses your reaction - and at higher levels, monster damage is usually divided among several attacks, and this will only work against one. You also have to be within 5 feet of your ally - which limits its utility."

But this one has some nice scaling with proficiency, doesn't require a shield and you can (arguably) defend yourself with it.

Overall, not great, a bit better than protection IMO, but depends on who you're fighting. Disadvantage will usually cut your chances by half, so against strong enemies protection is better.

Superior Technique. You get a Battlemaster maneuver and a d6 superiority die. Well, this is good. Battlemaster maneuvers are nice and you can surely find something useful. A solid choice, even for Battlemasters - since their superiority die will arguably scale with level. Not that Battlemasters need the boost when compared to, say, champions or barbarians, but that's neither here nor there.

Thrown Weapon: Allows you to draw and throw a weapon as an attack, and thrown weapons deal +2 damage. This is a powerful style that makes "thrown weapons" builds viable. Get a few daggers or javelins and now you're deadly at a distance without needing Dex... Nice!

This is definitely a "cinematic" option - in real life, I'm willing to bet that a dagger held in hand is ten times more deadly than thrown dagger - but it fits the genre. You still need a decent number of weapons to avoid running out of ammo!

Notice that you can attack with a shortsword with one hand and throw a dagger with the other, for example, making it a viable way of "two weapon fighting".

Unarmed Fighting. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 + Str damage, or 1d8 if you don't have a shield  or weapon. And at start of your turn, you can deal 1d4 damage to a creature grappled by you. This is a great option, making unarmed attacks become a viable tactic, at least until magic weapons come into play. 

Notice that the 1d4 damage does not require a bonus action, making it useful even for monks, and folks that have the Tavern Brawler feat.

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Overall...

Some solid options in there. Not is stronger than say, Archery, but they are all pretty strong except for Blind Fighting. The feat is a bad idea, but other than that these are some good fighting styles. Thrown Weapon and Unarmed Fighting are good for specific builds.

And it is nice that warriors get some love, since we already have approximately a bazillion spells.

I have considered writing a new Manual of Arms with new fighting styles - so far, I have about 20, which is not enough for a book. Maybe if I add a few stances and feats... 

Well, let me know if you like the idea.

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