The Eldritch Knight Fighter D&D 5e subclass review featured image is a combination of imagery from Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount and a photo by Colby Thomas. This article contains affiliate links to put gold in our coffers.
The Archetype of the Eldritch Knight Fighter has been with us since the Player’s Handbook. It can be tricky to play well but can be of the most powerful fighter subclasses.
In this review, we’ll have a closer look at the Eldritch Knight features and how these synergize with the Fighter’s main class features, then review suitable feat, race, and multiclass options and finally combine these into some build concepts.
As always, these are just my thoughts. If you have any other ideas about the Eldritch Knight please let me know in the comments below!
Spellcasting – 3rd Level Eldritch Knight Fighter
The amazing news is that you get to cast spells as a pure-class Fighter. The bad news is that casting spells can be tricky if you’re also juggling weapons and/or a shield, you are mostly restricted to just two schools of magic, and that you are a ‘one-third’ caster who only gets spells up to 4th level.
You also need high Intelligence to cast saving throw spells or use spell attacks effectively, but as a Fighter you will also need high Strength or Dexterity and high Constitution, which looks like it could make you quite MAD. Fortunately, many of your best spell options don’t require saves, and it is quite possible to build an effective Eldritch Knight without needing to boost your Intelligence at all.
You gain 2 wizard cantrips at 3rd level, adding a third cantrip at 10th level.
Next, you get 3 wizard spells known at 3rd level, 2 of which must be Abjuration or Evocation spells. You slowly learn extra spells known as you level up, with a maximum of 13 spells known at level 20. The spells you learn at levels 8, 14, and 20 can be from any spell school; the others must be Abjuration or Evocation. You can replace one spell known with another one every time you level up, with the same spell school restrictions.
If you pick all four spells available from other schools (and you should) you’ll end up with 9 Abjuration or Evocation spells and 4 others, plus 3 cantrips. This is not a huge amount, and you’ll only get a total of 11 spell slots to use per long rest.
You don’t get ritual casting, so won’t get any free casting of spells.
The synergy between spell casting and Action Surge should immediately be noted. You can cast two spells on your own turn, or attack and cast a spell.
We will review the other subclass options first and then come back to spell selection.
Weapon Bond – 3rd Level Eldritch Knight Fighter
You can spend one hour (including a short rest) to bond to a weapon. Once bonded, you can also be disarmed while incapacitated and can summon the weapon to you using a bonus action, providing it on the same plane of existence. You can only bond to two weapons at a time.
This is a fun feature. It’s not desperately efficient in combat but you could still throw your weapon and summon it back to you. You can’t be disarmed (for long) if captured, and you can walk into any social event apparently unarmed yet actually armed to the teeth.
War Magic – 7th Level Eldritch Knight Fighter
If you cast a cantrip you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
There you go – this is what you want to be using your bonus action for! A mixture of spells and weapon attacks is what this subclass is all about.
We’ll take a look at some combos for this when we review the spells later. The one anti-synergy here is with Extra Attack – you have to stay weighing up whether it will be more impactful to attack twice (or three times if you can make a bonus action weapon attack) or do the cantrip + attack combo. This only gets more difficult when you reach level 11 and get your third attack.
Eldritch Strike – 10th Level Eldritch Knight Fighter
When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, it gets disadvantage on the next saving throw it makes before the end of your next turn.
This can either compensate for a lower Intelligence score or make you pretty formidable with saving throw spells if you decided to boost your Intelligence.
This doesn’t seem to pair with (Improved) War Magic in a single turn (you need to cast the cantrip/spell first); however, you can do this in a single turn if you use Action Surge. The Lightning Lure and Mind Sliver cantrips both pair particularly well with this, as does Tasha’s Mind Whip.
Arcane Charge – 15th Level Eldritch Knight Fighter
You can teleport 30ft either before or after the extra action you get from Action Surge.
This is a nice movement ability. It could be tactically very useful for getting you into the right place or out of a tight spot. This is not a spell, so can’t be Counterspelled.
Improved War Magic – 18th Level Eldritch Knight Fighter
When you cast a spell you can now attack as a bonus action.
An upgrade to War Magic. It’s a bit late but still a nice feature.
The hardest part of being an Eldritch Knight is picking your spells.
Generally speaking, you want to pick spells that match the combat style you wish to use – if you want to prefer ranged combat over melee, you will pick different spells.
I don’t usually recommend picking up ritual spells (with one notable exception – Find Familiar) as you are not a ritual caster, and these are usually best left for characters who don’t need to use a spell slot for them. Picking up the Ritual Caster feat (see Feat section later) is a really nice option for an Eldritch Knight for a lot more spellcasting versatility.
You also want to be careful (as with any spellcaster) not to pick too many concentration spells, as you can only have one of those going at any time.
You get access to level 1 spells at Fighter level 3, level 2 spells come online at level 7, you get level 3 spells at level 13, and level 4 spells only at level 19.
- Most campaigns don’t even reach level 13, so you’re usually best off building your character around level 1 and 2 spells.
- Your level 3 spells arrive so late that they are not nearly as useful as usual – a Fireball at level 13 is nowhere near as impactful as one at level 5, and for you, Counterspelling or Dispelling anything over a level 4 spell will need an Intelligence ability check.
- You get to choose up to 3 cantrips from 31 options.
- You get to choose up to 9 AE (Abjuration/Evocation) spells from 51 options.
- You get to choose up to 4 Other spells from 131 (!) options. Pick wisely 😉
* = int requirement for maximum effectiveness
c = concentration
u = upcastable
Cantrips top picks:
- Booming Blade
- Mage Hand
- Minor Illusion
Cantrips honorable mentions:
- Blade Ward (melee only)
- Green Flame Blade
- Lightning Lure(*)
- Mind Sliver(*)
- Mold Earth
- Shocking Grasp(*)
- Sword Burst(*)
Level 1 top picks: AE (Abjuration/Evocation)
- Absorb Elements
Level 1 top pick: Other
- Find Familiar
Level 1 honorable mentions: AE
- Magic Missile(u)
- Protection from Evil and Good(c)
- Tasha’s Caustic Brew(cu*)
Level 1 honorable mentions: Other
- Silvery Barbs
- Fog Cloud(c)
- Tasha’s Hideous Laughter(cu*)
Level 2 top picks: AE
- Warding Wind(c)
Level 2 top pick: Other
- Misty Step
- Shadow Blade(c)
Level 2 honorable mentions: AE
- Scorching Ray(u*)
Level 2 honorable mentions: Other
- Kinetic Jaunt(c)
- Mirror Image
- Tasha’s Mind Whip(u*)
Level 3 top picks: AE
Level 3 top pick: Other
Level 3 honorable mentions: AE
- Dispel Magic(u*)
Level 3 honorable mentions: Other
- Ashardalon’s Stride(cu)
- Spirit Shroud(c) (technically upcastable but you get no benefits for doing so)
Level 4 top picks: AE
- Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere(c*) (no save if casting on willing creatures)
- Sickening Radiance(c*)
Level 4 top picks: Other
- Greater Invisibility(c)
Level 4 honorable mentions: AE
- Fire Shield
- Wall of Fire(c*)
Level 4 honorable mentions: Other
- Polymorph(c*) (so save if casting on willing creatures)
If you don’t have the energy to do the research, here’s a simple, general-purpose set of cantrips and spells for Melee and Ranged combat, in both cases assuming you’ll not be boosting your Intelligence.
Basic Melee Set (no int focus)
Booming Blade, Blade Ward, Minor Illusion, Absorb Elements, Shield, Find Familiar, Protection from Evil and Good(c), Thunderwave(u*), Magic Missile(u), Warding Wind(c), Misty Step, Counterspell(u*), Fireball(u*), Fly(c), Fire Shield, Sickening Radiance(c*)
Basic Ranged Set (no int focus)
Minor Illusion, Mold Earth, Fire Bolt(*), Absorb Elements, Shield, Find Familiar, Protection from Evil and Good(c), Magic Missile(u), Mirror Image, Scorching Ray(u*), Counterspell(u*), Fireball(u*), Dispel Magic(u*), Fly(c), Wall of Fire(c*), Greater Invisibility(c)
Spell-Focused Build Options
Some spells are worth building your whole character concept around. Unless you’re playing a high-level campaign or one-shot I would recommend choosing a second-level spell to build around because they become available at level 7.
There are some honorable cantrip mentions here as well.
Booming Blade and Green Flame Blade
You can often combine Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade with one of the other options below. Once you get War Magic at level 7 it’s usually more impactful using Booming Blade (and its connected weapon attack) with your main action, and a weapon attack with your War Magic bonus action.
If you take the Warcaster feat, you can also use the blade cantrips as an opportunity attack. For Booming Blade, this means creatures that try to leave your reach have to decide to either stay put or take the bonus booming damage from the cantrip.
The math then changes again when you reach 11th level and get your third attack. At this point, you’re usually better off using three attacks with your main attack action rather than using a Blade cantrip. It’s still worth having, though if you went with Warcaster, for the reaction.
Both cantrips work with any weapon that has a material cost, although only have a range of 5ft, so you can’t use it with a reach weapon at 10ft range. Like most damage-causing cantrips they improve with you as you level.
Blur(c) (and Protection from Evil and Good(c))
Not on your AE, you need to pick this up as one of only four Other spells. This is great for making you hard to hit; it lasts for one minute (one combat). The nice thing about Blur is its general applicability, although it won’t work on creatures that can see through illusions (increasing likely at higher levels of play).
Note that Protection from Evil and Good – which IS on your main picklist as an Abjuration spell – will provide the same effect against many nasty creature types, also help protect you from some nasty status effects, and is a level 1 spell. If you are in a campaign that figures a lot of aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and/or undead, you should probably go for Protection from Evil and Good and skip Blur.
Either is a strong defensive pick.
Darkness is on the AE list, so you don’t have to sacrifice one of your Other spell choices to build around this. Although it’s not party-friendly (unless your whole party is built around fighting in heavy obscurement), it can be impactful. Note, this is not the best choice if you want to be a defender and hold the line against enemies because enemies will generally choose to avoid the darkness and go around. You need a way to see through magical darkness, which you can get (in a limited fashion) by talking the Blind Fighting Style, or slightly more usefully through the Eldritch Adept and picking up the Devil’s Sight invocation. You can control Darkness by casting it on a coin in a shuttered lantern and turning it on and off using your free object interaction during combat. It lasts for up to 10 minutes. It does require an action to get set up, but the duration may allow you to use it for more than one fight.
If you can see through magical Darkness but your enemies can’t, you can get advantage on all your attack rolls, and all enemies will have disadvantage attacking you. You will also be immune to opportunity attacks (which require sight). I think this probably best suits a ranged attacker because of the aforementioned issues for your frontline defending – however, it will work well for either role assuming your party is OK with it.
Warding Wind is on the AE list, so you don’t have to sacrifice one of your Other spell choices to build around this. This one is more suited to a defender who wishes to tie down enemies on the front line and stop them from getting to your squishies at the back. It gives disadvantage to ranged attacks against you (and your own ranged attacks – beware!) and provides a 10ft radius sphere of difficult terrain centered on you that moves with you, lasting for up to 10 minutes. It does require an action to get set up, but the duration may allow you to use it for more than one fight.
This is really good for making you more ‘sticky’ on the front lines, making it more difficult for enemies to move away from you. You can combine it with the Sentinel feat to make it very difficult for enemies to avoid you and with the Slasher feat to reduce enemies’ speed even further.
It also pairs well with the Lightning Lure cantrip, which can pull creatures 10ft back towards you, plus, you get advantage on this after level 10 due to Eldritch Strike if you hit them the turn before. It also pairs well with Tasha’s Mind Whip (see below).
This one needs to be picked as one of your Other spells. You use a bonus action to summon a shadowy one-handed blade that does 2d8 psychic damage (rarely resisted) and has the finesse, light, and thrown properties. If you throw it, it will dissipate and then reappear in your hand if you use a bonus action. If you are in dim light or darkness, you will make all your attacks with advantage, which is amazing – if you want to build around this you should definitely play a race with Darkvision.
One open issue you will need to resolve with your DM is whether or not Booming Blade and Green Flame Blade work with Shadow Blade. By a strict RAW interpretation, Shadow Blade may lack the material cost that is required for the cantrips – although it does class as a ‘simple weapon’, so could be judged to have some value. Jeremy Crawford has said he would allow the combination but check with your DM.
You should also think about whether or not you want to dual-wield or have a shield in your other hand. Dual wielding will yield higher damage at the cost of your defenses (particularly if you pick up a magic shield).
For simplicity’s sake, I will assume at this point that your DM will allow the Blade cantrips with Booming Blade.
Up to level 11:
- You are better off using them together with War Magic until level 11 (i.e., Booming Blade + Shadow Blade, followed by another Shadow Blade attack).
- You can also use Booming Blade with Shadow Blade for Warcaster-fuelled opportunity attacks.
From level 11 onwards:
- This all works fine until level 11, when it mostly becomes more efficient to attack multiple times with your Shadow Blade than use War Magic (unless you are confident of being able to get the Booming Blade bonus damage all the time).
- At this point, your Booming Blade will mostly be reserved for your Warcaster opportunity attack (assuming you took the Warcaster feat, which you should).
- If you are wielding a shield, you will then also have a spare bonus action available after your first turn in combat (the first turn is reserved for casting Shadow Blade), so could look to add something like Shield Master or Telekinetic for another bonus action option. You’ll want the Dueling Fighting Style to combine with Shadow Blade.
Shadow Blade gains an extra 1d8 damage if upcast to level 3 but doesn’t benefit from being upcast to level 4, although if you get that far, you might still want to use your level 4 slot for casting it! You get your first level 3 spell slots at level 13, at which point you could attack 6 times in a round with your 3d8+5 Shadow Blade – average 18.5 damage per hit, over 100 damage in a round if you hit all 6 (which is more likely if all attacks are being made with advantage in dim light or darkness).
Shadow Blade shines particularly brightly 😉 in low-magic campaigns where there are not many magic weapons to be found. You can combine being a strong defender with being a strong damage dealer. Shadow Blade also works for Dexterity-focused melee builds (better Initiative, Stealth, and Dexterity saves), which also leaves it open to playing an Elven race and taking Elven Accuracy (darkvision + ‘super’ advantage on attacks). Note it only has a one-minute duration, so it will essentially last you for one combat.
Kinetic Jaunt(c), upgraded to Ashardalon’s Stride(cu)
These two spells were introduced in Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos. They both need to be picked as one of your Other spells, and upgrading Kinetic Jaunt to Ashardalon’s Stride is a natural progression. If your DM lets you use them, they can combine nicely with the Booming Blade cantrip. Both spells boost your walking speed (movement in general for Ashardalon’s Stride) and allow you to avoid opportunity attacks. Ashardalon’s Stride also lets you do 1d6 fire damage to any creature or object you pass within 5ft of. You can cast either of these with a bonus action and still use Booming Blade on a target that you can approach, hit and safely move away from. The enemy is then either stuck in place or has to move and take damage. On subsequent turns, you can repeat, adding the bonus action attack with a weapon from War Magic to your Booming Blade. You can eventually upcast Ashardalon’s Stride to 4th level and gain an extra 5ft of movement (25ft bonus in total) and 2d6 of unavoidable fire damage. If someone else casts Fly on you, can you then use this for dive-bombing attacks (essentially the equivalent of the flyby feature).
This approach suits a more hit-and-run striker play style and is not as suitable if you wish to be a front-line defender. Both have a 1-minute duration, so probably one combat only.
Not available to you until you reach level 13, and not an AE spell either, so you need to use one of your Other spell selections for it. The extra AC, doubled movement speed and extra attack are all great, but the downside of you being stuck until after your next turn when it ends (no move or action) can be brutal – if you do get hit and do lose your concentration, you can be in big trouble. If you have a spellcaster who can cast this on you (particularly a Sorcerer who can twin it), that will likely increase the chances of it staying up and allow you to use one of the other spells listed as your main approach instead.
You don’t get this until level 19, and it’s on the AE list. If you want to be a defender, this can actually work against you because you won’t be attracting enemies in your direction! For a ranged fighter or a hit-and-run striker, this is amazing, offering all the benefits of Darkness without requiring a Fighting Style or Feat and without the potential downsides to your allies. You only get one 4th level spell slot per day and the spell lasts for 1 minute.
Tasha’s Mind Whip(u*)
Eldritch Knights don’t get many decent ‘save or else’ leveled spells to pair with their 10th-level Eldritch Strike ability, so picking up one of the best spells in the game from the Other list can fill this gap. I think this synergizes particularly well with Warding Wind but will be a useful option for any Eldritch Knight build. Tasha’s Mind Whip forces an Intelligence save (the best save in the game to target), and if the save is failed does some psychic damage plus allows a creature to choose only one of their move, action, or bonus action and cancels their reaction. This pairs fantastically with Eldritch Strike from 10th level, you can also use Mind Sliver to help set this up.
A creature within the effects of Warding Wind will be in difficult terrain so won’t be able to move far, and won’t be able to attack you before they move, so moving becomes a really difficult option – again, this helps to make you sticky and keep creatures engaged only with you.
This can also be used tactically if you want to move away from a creature – you can cancel their reaction opportunity attack while doing a little damage and then move away. They can follow you but can’t attack, or can attack at range but not be able to follow as well.
This doesn’t seem to get mentioned often, but the Eldritch Knight can use any Wizard spell scrolls. Hoarding some scrolls can be a great way to add a whole bunch of extra utility and options to your Fighter. You can use scrolls up to your max spell level available without any issues but can also cast scrolls above that – if the spell is on your class’s spell list, but of a higher level than you can normally cast, you must make an ability check using Intelligence to determine whether you cast it successfully. The DC is 10 + 1 per spell level.
If you want to do this a lot, then picking up Enhance Ability as one of your Other spells (or picking up some scrolls of Enhance Ability, which you will automatically succeed on using once you are level 7 or above!) will give you advantage on these ability checks, and focusing on increasing your Intelligence ability score will also help of course. Bear in mind that Enhance Ability is a concentration spell.
Eldritch Knight Fighter Subclass Summary
The Eldritch Knight can gain up to 20 levels in Fighter and effectively 7 levels in Wizard. You can be an incredibly strong defender – the combination of the defensive spells you can use along with a high AC (especially if you use a shield) and high hit points will make you very hard to nullify in combat. You can also add a ton of utility to the Fighter if you wish and contribute more than usual both in and out of combat.
The difficulty with the subclass lies in picking the correct combination of spells to synergize with the subclass features and your chosen play style. Picking the wrong spells can leave you feeling less useful or impactful than many other Fighter subclasses. I also think there is some confusion about the proper use of War Magic as you level up – you may not use it much after you reach level 11… but then a lot of campaigns are coming to close around that point anyway.
Your choice of ranged or melee combatant may depend on your party composition – someone needs to be a melee combatant, and Eldritch Knights are very good at it. If your party already features a Paladin and a Cleric, that can free you up a bit to go for a melee striker or ranged combatant.
I recommend ranged weapons, sword-and-board, or two-weapon fighting for an Eldritch Knight. Polearms can also work well but are a little boring.
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 Eldritch Knight doesn’t push you towards a particular play style, so there’s tons of flexibility.
Eldritch Knights pretty much have a feat tax – War Caster.
- Most Eldritch Knights (except possibly ranged combatants) are strongly recommended to take this feat; it’s pretty much mandatory for sword and board or two-weapon fighting builds. This allows you to ignore the somatic components of spells if you have weapons/shields in both hands.
- Note that it does NOT allow you to ignore material components of spells, and you still need to have a component pouch and a free hand to touch it to cast any spells with material components.
- Warcaster also allows you to cast spells as opportunity attacks (Booming Blade is top of the list here) and gain advantage on Constitution checks made to maintain concentration on spells.
Crusher is a standout feat for an Eldritch Knight.
- The ability to knock a creature back by 5ft while using Booming Blade is great – the creature will need to move on its own turn to get back in range to attack you, which will trigger the extra booming damage. Or they stay put – either way, you do damage or make yourself sticky.
- This pairs incredibly well with Polearm Master and a shield + quarterstaff – you get another opportunity attack from Polearm Master when the creature comes within your reach, and if you have War Caster you can hit them with Booming Blade and Crusher again, knocking them back 5ft and forcing them to take the booming damage again! If you are using Warding Wind they will rapidly use up their movement speed as well.
Sentinel is a great battlefield control option for making yourself sticky, although the combination of War Caster and Booming Blade competes with this – you can either stop their movement with your opportunity attack or force them to choose between moving and taking extra damage. If you are not using Warding Wind, then I think Sentinel becomes more attractive to help keep enemies close by.
If you like using heavy polearms, you can combine Great Weapon Master with Polearm Master. Reach is always great, the extra damage from Great Weapon Master is great too, and you will have a free hand for casting on your turn, so you can potentially skip War Caster. I do feel this is a ‘vanilla fighter’ tactic, so it is a little everyday and boring on an Eldritch Knight. You could take Heavy Armor Master at first level, if Custom Lineage or Variant Human, to offset the slightly lowered defenses.
Shield Master is another sword-and-board build option, although the bonus action shove will compete with War Magic. The extra boost to dexterity saves is always welcome, and the bonus action shove can knock a creature prone – which again pairs well with Warding Wind as a controlling option.
Slasher is another great feat with lots of potential synergies. You reduce a target’s speed by 10ft on a hit, which again synergizes really nicely with Warding Wind.
For Dexterity-based melee builds, you can wield a finesse weapon and add the Defensive Duelist feat.
Sharpshooter is always great for ranged builds and can be combined with Crossbow Expert for an extra bonus action attack and/or Piercer.
If you want to max out the power of Shadow Blade, you should play an Elf and take Elven Accuracy.
Pretty much every race will work well with the Eldritch 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.
Bugbear is a great option if you want to go the Shadow Blade route and fight in darkness a lot.
Goliaths and Half-Orcs make great defenders.
For once, Barbarian doesn’t work very well as a Fighter multiclass option; you can’t concentrate on a spell or cast spells on a spell while Raging.
The Gloomstalker Ranger is a standout option if you like using Shadow Blade.
Wizard makes an interesting option – a few levels can greatly increase the number of spells and cantrips you know, plus some Wizards get some very useful abilities for a melee combatant.
- Two levels of War Wizard give you Arcane Deflection, a reaction that provides either a +2 to AC if you get a hit or a +4 to saves if you fail a saving throw. This is a fantastic defensive complement to your Eldritch Knight abilities. Tactical Wit allows you to add your Intelligence bonus to your initiative, which will be useful for the entire campaign.
- 2 levels of Bladesinger provide Bladesong. This would suit a Dexterity + Intelligence focused build.
The Artificer also has some natural overlaps, boosting your AC with Infusion, adding some spells, and some subclass abilities are very nice:
- Three levels into Battle Smith can allow you to go SAD and attack with Intelligence. It’s a big investment and will take a while to get going, so might suit a one-shot rather than an extended campaign. The Steel Defender will compete with War Magic for your bonus action.
- Armorer also has some nice synergies. You can avoid high Strength and still wear heavy armor, and the Guardian Armor Model provides a great controlling option with the Thunder Gauntlets, causing a hit target to have disadvantage on attacks vs. anyone else.
For me, the two most effective concepts to build around are either Warding Wind and being a defender/controller or Shadow Blade for decent defenses but more damage. Building around Darkness with the Blind Fighting style is also an interesting option if your party is comfortable dealing with the heavy obscurement caused. Unfortunately, you can’t have both Darkness and Shadow Blade running at the same time as they both require concentration.
Hybrid controller/damage dealer
- This will work with any race – Gnome might be nice for the improved saving throws vs magic. Take War Caster and Crusher, wield a quarterstaff and shield, and use Warding Wind and Booming Blade as your main combat tactics. Concentrate on Strength and heavy armor with the Defense fighting style. Add Polearm Master later for the additional ‘on approach’ opportunity attack. You will be knocking enemies back with Booming Blade + Crusher, both on your own attacks and with the Polearm Master + War Caster opportunity attack. Enemies will either stay put or take damage when they move.
- Go with a Goliath for Stone’s Endurance. Take War Caster and Slasher, wield a longsword or whip and shield and use Warding Wind. Concentrate on Strength and heavy armor with the Defense fighting style. Save Booming Blade for opportunity attacks, use your main attacks to slow down as many enemies as possible with Slasher, and use Lighting Lure to pull enemies back into reach and keep them within your Warding Wind, or cast Tasha’s Mind Whip on them to help with control. Add Sentinel later for even more control.
Striker with high AC, deadly in the darkness.
- Be an Elf – I think a Drow would be fun – take Elven Accuracy and War Caster, wield a Shadow Blade (or rapier) and shield, and take the Dueling fighting style. Concentrate on Dexterity and medium armor. After level 11 (and the third attack), consider multiclassing 3 or 4 levels with Gloomstalker. A few Rogue levels might be fun too. Maybe add Shield Master later for more defense and advantage (knocked prone) vs. creatures not in darkness.
- If your DM permits it, you can combine Shadow Blade with Booming Blade. If not, you might consider Dual Wielding and Two-Weapon Fighting style so you can use Booming Blade with your off-hand as an opportunity attack.
Classic heavy obscurement + high damage
- Go for an Elf, take Great Weapon Master and Elven Accuracy, wield a greatsword, and use Darkness with the Blind Fighting style. I suggest casting Darkness on a coin inside a shuttered lantern, so you can turn it on and off. Go for Strength and heavy armor. Enemies will have disadvantage to attack you, and you will have advantage to attack them – offsetting the -5 to hit penalty of Great Weapon Master and providing consistently high damage. Lightning Lure would be a fun option to drag enemies screaming back into the dark. You could add Polearm Master and switch to a halberd for a bonus action attack later.
- As an alternative, you could go for Dual Wielder, which would do less damage but add a little je ne sais quoi.
Summary of the Eldritch Knight Fighter
That wraps up my review of the Eldritch Knight! In summary, it’s powerful if built well; however, it’s one of the more complex Fighter subclasses. You can build a very effective Eldritch Knight if you choose the right spells to match your character concept.