Echo Knight Fighter D&D 5e subclass review featured image is a combination of imagery from Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount and a photo by Tim Stief. This article contains affiliate links to put gold in our coffers.
The Archetype of the Echo Knight Fighter was introduced in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. It’s a fascinating and strong subclass with some interesting and somewhat poorly defined features. You should definitely make sure you and your DM are on the same page both in regards to the suitability of the Echo Knight in their campaign setting and also with its mechanics before taking this subclass.
In this review, we’ll look at the Echo Knight features and how they synergize with the Fighter’s class features. Then we’ll assess some feat, race, and multiclass options. Finally, combine these into some build concepts.
As always, these are just my thoughts. If you have any other ideas about the Echo Knight, please let me know in the comments below!
Manifest Echo – 3rd Level Echo Knight Fighter
You can summon an Echo of yourself from an unrealized timeline to fight alongside you in battle. You can do this with a bonus action. A gray, translucent image of you appears within 15ft at an unoccupied space that you can see.
- The Echo has 1 hitpoint and an AC that starts at 16 (14 + prof bonus).
- You can move it 30ft using mental commands. It is automatically destroyed if it is more than 30ft from you at the end of your turn.
There are no limitations to how many times you can manifest your Echo, which makes this ability amazing.
- The Echo is an object. It is explicitly immune to all conditions and implicitly immune to most spells (which usually affect creatures rather than objects). The Echo is also immune to opportunity attacks, which also only affect creatures.
- It does not count as an ‘ally,’ so it’s not eligible to trigger Sneak Attack or the optional flanking rules. It also cannot be the target of certain spells.
- The Echo can move vertically. It occupies its space so can be used to block advancing enemies.
There are three things you can do with your Echo:
As a bonus action, you can swap places with the echo, regardless of the distance between you. This costs 15ft of your movement.
- This can greatly extend your available movement during your turn. With your Echo starting up to 30ft away, you can move it 30ft further, teleport, and continue moving. This will cost you your Echo, but you can always just create another one.
- This is a great way of dealing with obstacles and a fantastic utility option out of combat as well.
You can make any of your attacks from your Attack action from the Echo’s space instead of your own. Note that you are making this attack, not the Echo. You still have to be able to see your target.
- Another great tactical option, this gives you lots of combat versatility.
- You can effectively increase the range of your weapons by 30ft. You can increase that range if you are prepared to lose your Echo.
- You can send your Echo to the front lines and keep yourself safe.
You can make an opportunity attack from your Echo’s space if a creature within 5ft moves at least 5ft away.
- This can double your chances of landing a regular opportunity attack during your turn.
- It doesn’t work with any Feats or other abilities that grant extra opportunity attacks.
Unleash Incarnation – 3rd Level Echo Knight Fighter
Also, at 3rd level (!), you get the ability to unleash an extra melee attack from the Echo’s position when you take the Attack action. You can do this Constitution modifier times per long rest.
- As if you didn’t get enough at 3rd level already! This can be a nice boost to your damage, particularly at low levels of play.
- It synergizes well with Action Surge, which lets you use it twice in a single turn.
- This does favor the use of melee weapons over ranged.
Echo Avatar – 7th Level Echo Knight Fighter
You can transfer your consciousness to your Echo using an action for up to 10 minutes. You will be blinded and deafened and can use your Echo’s senses instead. Your Echo can be up to 1000ft away while it’s your Avatar.
- Apparently, this is intended to be a scouting option and not work with any of your other abilities (such as your teleport). It’s completely unclear from the text that this is the case. Your DM might be more permissive (it’s always worth asking).
- It’s also unclear whether your Echo has any mass and can trigger traps. It does ‘occupy its space,’ but it is also an image. Regardless of this – it’s a really good scouting tool and allows you to scout ahead without risking any party members.
Again, there is no limit to the number of times you can use this ability.
Shadow Martyr – 10th Level Echo Knight Fighter
You can now use reactions to teleport your Echo next to an ally you can see. You direct an attack on your ally towards the Echo instead.
- You can use the ability one per short or long rest.
- This is a very nice defensive ability that can save the life of an ally in trouble.
- There doesn’t seem to be any range limit on this one.
Reclaim Potential – 15th Level Echo Knight Fighter
If your Echo is destroyed and you have no temp HP, you can gain 2d6 + con mod temp HP.
- You can use this ability con mod times per long rest.
- Finally – a slightly underwhelming ability. This is not a lot of temp HP at this level of play. If you already have some temp HP from another source, you can’t even use it.
Legion of One – 18th Level Echo Knight Fighter
You can now summon two Echoes instead of one.
- This is not a big power bump, although the added flexibility is nice.
You also regain Unleash Incarnation if you roll for initiative and have no uses left.
- Again, some extra damage is welcome, but one extra attack per combat encounter is not a lot.
Echo Knight Subclass Summary
The Echo Knight gets a huge amount of front-loaded features. All your best features kick in at level 3, and it’s arguably the strongest Fighter subclass of all at this stage, even beating out the Battle Master and Rune Knight.
Right from level 3, you gain a huge amount of tactical flexibility, movement, and extra chances to make both attacks and opportunity attacks. You also get a ton of out-of-combat utility, which is unusual in a Fighter.
The one thing you don’t gain is a lot of extra damage, and given that your Echo eats up a lot of your bonus actions (if you are making full use of it), you are also not the most reliable user of Feats that grant bonus action attacks such as Polearm Master or Crossbow Expert.
Some of the features of the Echo – most notably its required proximity to you, the ability to make opportunity attacks from its space, and the extra melee attack from Unleash Incarnation all seem to favor melee combat over ranged.
Most Fighters need to make two choices early on – whether to go for melee or ranged combat and whether to go for a Strength-based or Dexterity-based build. Your choice of feats should reflect the choices you have made.
Fighters get more ASIs and can potentially get more feats than any other class, and the Echo Knight doesn’t push you towards a particular play style, so there’s tons of flexibility.
Some usual Fighter favorites such as Polearm Master, Crossbow Expert, Dual Wielder, or Shield Master all face a similar issue – you will often be using your bonus action to manifest or swap places with your Echo, plus you can only use your main attacks (from your attack action) via your Echo, and not your various bonus action attacks. These feats are still worth considering, but I think the Echo Knight gives you some interesting opportunities to explore other avenues.
For me, Sentinel is the standout feat for a melee-based Echo Knight. Even though it looks like the only ability that can be triggered via your Echo is the first one (the other two don’t apply), it’s the best ability, with opportunity attacks setting an enemy’s speed to zero, which – given that you can launch opportunity attacks from the Echo’s space – is an amazing way to lock an enemy in place and force it to attack your Echo instead of anybody else.
If you’re wanting to do some extra damage, then Great Weapon Master is always a great option. A heavy reach weapon is also nice, allowing you and your Echo to combine a lot of coverage of the battlefield (although it won’t increase the 5ft range of your Echo opportunity attacks). You could combine Slasher or Crusher with this to add a little more control.
Sharpshooter is always great for ranged builds and can be combined with Piercer.
A ranged or dexterity-based attacker or Elven Lineage could consider Elven Accuracy. Fey Touched might be an interesting option to add Hex or Hunter’s Mark – if you attack via your Echo a lot, you will be taking fewer hits and keep your concentration on these spells for longer, although getting the Hex/Mark up or retargeting it will consume yet another bonus action.
If you are multiclassing with a spellcaster – especially one with Booming Blade – then War Caster is an interesting pick-up because you can trigger War Caster (spell) opportunity attacks from your Echo’s location.
Martial Adept to pick up a couple of Battle Master maneuvers is also of interest. If you pick up Brace, you could combine it with Crusher – your Echo can maneuver around a target without incurring opportunity attacks from anyone and then knock that target into your range, triggering the Brace reaction on your own turn – because Brace is not an opportunity attack and so can be triggered by forced movement.
Pretty much every race will work well with the Echo Knight. Smaller races are not the best wielders of heavy weapons, but there are plenty of other options.
As always, Custom Lineage and Variant Human are great choices with yet another feat.
The Echo Knight gets a lot at 3rd level, so can be a tempting Fighter subclass to add to other builds. The main thing to watch out for is the ‘bonus action clog’ – you will be using your bonus action a lot to create/teleport your Echo.
Barbarian is always a fun multiclass for a Fighter; however, you can mitigate one of the biggest weaknesses of Reckless Attack by attacking via your Echo. As far as I can see, you give away advantage on attack rolls against you, but not against your Echo. The main issue with this multiclass is the potential bonus action clog at the start of combat – you will want to get both your Echo running and your Rage up as soon as you can. Ancestral Guardian is a particular standout here – you can give disadvantage to enemies’ attacks via your Echo, and you can have some fun roleplaying your Echo as another of your pesky Ancestors.
Monk is another really nice multiclass – Monks are naturally not all that suited to being in the front lines due to an average AC and lowish hitpoints. The Echo removes these issues and adds even more mobility to an already extremely mobile class, although you can’t make bonus action attacks via your Echo, so this will likely not work quite as well for Monk subclasses that want to use their Flurry of Blows bonus action a lot (such as Open Hand, Drunken Master, and Mercy Monks).
Rogue is another great option – being able to have your Echo in the front lines for Sneak Attack opportunities without taking any risks is great. Note that the Echo doesn’t count as an ally itself, so can’t help you get Sneak Attack. Again, watch out for your bonus actions.
Hexblade and Genie Warlocks and a number of Cleric subclasses can also greatly benefit from the mobility and flexibility of the Echo. Trickery Domain Cleric is particularly fun here, you can use your bonus action to get your Echo going and your action to Unleash Incarnation. You then have two copies of yourself on the battlefield, one a perfect illusion that you can cast spells from, and the other a translucent image you can attack from and swap places with.
Gloomstalker Ranger is another standout multiclass option.
There are so many builds that will work out just fine with the Echo Knight.
A halberd-wielding Dwarf with Sentinel with Great Weapon Master. Loads of battlefield control and coverage with high damage attacks. Extremely effective.
Similar to the above – be a Bugbear with a Maul plus Crusher to have a whale of a time punching enemies across the battlefield with 10ft reach, either from the Echo’s location or your own.
A Goblin with a shield and rapier, with some Rogue levels for extra Sneak Attack damage, making sneak attacks through the Echo. Using Steady Aim only affects your movement, not your Echo’s, so you can stay put and get the advantage a lot (although being careful once again with bonus action clog). Going with an Elf and adding Elven accuracy could be fun here.
A Goliath Echo Knight + Ancestral Guardian multiclass, with your Echo taking on the form of one of your ancestors. Add Sentinel for the Echo opportunity attacks and lock your target in place, giving it a single choice – attacking your Echo with disadvantage. You need Rage (bonus action) up and running for this to work.
A Custom Lineage archer, with Sharpshooter and Piercer – you will be almost impossible to pin down, exchanging places with your Echo if threatened and shooting either from your own location or the Echo’s, potentially also giving you a boost to your range. Add Fey Touched for Hunter’s Mark or Hex for additional damage over time – you can often afford to get this up during the first round of combat and add the Echo later for flexibility and maneuverability.
That wraps up my review of the Echo Knight! In summary, it’s an extremely powerful subclass that offers the strongest overall package for a Fighter at level 3, also making it a great choice for multiclassing.