This article’s featured image for the D&D 5e Psi Warrior Fighter review is from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything with a beach background photo by Bruno Mira on Unsplash. This article contains affiliate links that add gold to our coffers.
The Archetype of the Psi Warrior Fighter was introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This archetype uses the power of the mind to drive effective features that are useful both in and out of combat.
In this review, we’ll review the Psi Warrior features and how these synergize with the Fighter class features, then assess suitable feats, races, 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 Psi Warrior please cast Message in the comments below!
Psi Warrior Fighter Subclass Features
Let’s begin with the Psi Warrior’s subclass features. Each subclass feature can be transformative to how a character is played, so let’s explore.
Psionic Power – 3rd Level Psi Warrior
The core of this class is a wellspring of psionic power, realized by a pool of Psionic Energy Dice that you use to drive your subclass abilities. The pool of dice works similarly to the Battle Master’s Superiority dice, although the Psi Warrior also gets some free uses of some of its abilities per short or long rest.
Your pool of dice is 2x your proficiency bonus, so 4 when you pick this ability up and rise to 12 eventually. You can also pick up a spare die once per short rest by using a bonus action. The dice start as a d6, rising through d8 and d10 until reaching d12.
Many of your abilities are boosted by having high Intelligence. This makes the Psi Warrior a bit more MAD than usual for a Fighter – you will need Strength or Dexterity, plus Constitution and Intelligence to all be high – however, given that the Fighter gets two more ASIs than most classes it is a bit more manageable here than for some (such as the Monk).
You get 3 abilities you can use at 3rd level:
- You get a new reaction – when you or another creature you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, roll (and expend) one die, reducing damage taken by the number rolled plus your Intelligence mod.
This is not a lot of damage reduction, but it scales with your die size and Intelligence modifier. Damage type doesn’t matter for this mitigation, so it’s extremely flexible. The only limitation is the range of 30ft.
- Some extra force damage once on each of your turns. After you hit a target within 30 feet of you with an attack and deal damage to it with a weapon, you roll (and expend) one die, dealing force damage to the target equal to the number rolled plus your Intelligence modifier.
This ability may not be the most efficient use of your dice until it gets upgraded at 7th level. The force damage is not ‘extra damage’ so won’t get doubled by critical hits. It’s still nice to be able to gain a bit of additional magic damage once per turn, but this ability has no real ‘burst’ potential. It’s interestingly worded – if you fight something that is immune to the damage done by your weapon, you can’t trigger this damage either.
- A new action – you can move an object or a creature with your mind. Target one loose object that is Large or smaller or one willing creature (other than yourself) that you can see and it is within 30 feet of you – and move it up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. If it is a Tiny object, you can move it to or from your hand. You can move the target horizontally, vertically, or both.
- You get one free use per short or long rest or can expend a die to use it again.
This ability is great, made even better by the fact that you get to use it once for free per short rest. Although it’s restricted to willing creatures and (up to) Large objects there are so many creative things you can use it for, both inside and outside combat.
A Psi Warrior can be a better thief than the Rogue. You can block a door with a large object, or shift an object in front of your party members for cover. You can move a party member out of danger (out of a grapple or avoiding an opportunity attack or environmental hazard) or move one across a chasm, or lift one to a balcony or rooftop. If someone knocks the MacGuffin out of a creature’s hand you can whisk it away. You can have you and your whole party stand on a table and elevate you all 30ft.
Large objects can be seriously heavy, way more than 200 pounds. A large statue is 2400 pounds (if made of marble or stone). Dropping such an object from 30ft on someone would require them to make a Dexterity save or take 3d6 bludgeoning damage (at least – the damage and DC for this are uncertain and at the DM’s discretion). If they fail the save the DM could rule them pinned down by the object until they make a Strength check to escape.
There is no save for this ability, and it doesn’t require a high Intelligence score (unless your DM wants to use your save DC for a Dexterity save to avoid any crushing damage), making it really great to use even if your Intelligence is not all that high yet.
It does cost your action, so you won’t be attacking during your turn in combat if you use this.
Telekinetic Adept – 7th Level Psi Warrior
- As a bonus action, you can propel your body with your mind. You gain a flying speed equal to twice your walking speed until the end of the current turn.
- You get one free use per short or long rest or can expend a die to use it again.
An amazing movement ability. You can rival a Monk with your overall movement speed, and flight allows you vertical movement too. You can leap up to a flying enemy and attack them or try to grapple them, or use your Telekinetic Thrust (see below) to knock them prone and cause them to fall (unless they can hover). If you have an enemy grappled you can leap into the air and drop them. You can dash with your main action and double the distance you can ‘leap’. You can attack with your main action or use Telekinetic Movement, the flexibility is great. Only the Eldritch Knight with the Fly spell can really rival the Psi Fighter for maneuverability, and even then not until level 13. Leaping for free once per short rest is also fantastic, and again this one doesn’t rely on your Intelligence score.
- This is a straight upgrade to your Psionic Strike (usable once on each of your turns).
- When you deal damage to a target with your Psionic Strike, you can force the target to make a Strength save (against a DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence mod). If the save fails, you can knock the target prone or move it up to 10 feet in any direction horizontally.
You do need high Intelligence to use this reliably, but it doesn’t cost anything extra (beyond the die you were already spending for Psionic Strike) to try regardless of your chances of succeeding. There is no size limit for this ability, which is incredible – and makes it significantly better than the two equivalent Battle Master maneuvers – Trip Attack and Shoving Attack. Again the only limitation is the 30ft range, which can be overcome with Psi Powered Leap if needed.
The movement can help you knock creatures back into AOE spells or off bridges/cliffs, or knock a target prone on your first attack, and then triggering Action Surge will give you (and everyone else in your party) advantage on your melee attacks until the target is able to get back up again. As mentioned earlier, you can also use it in the middle of an airborne Psi Powered Leap to knock flying creatures prone and therefore out of the sky.
Guarded Mind – 10th Level Psi Warrior
You gain resistance to psychic damage and end every effect causing the charmed or frightened condition by expending a die.
This is very simple. Psychic damage resistance is niche but can come in very handy against some very tough foes. The ability to just end conditions without even using an action is great.
Bulwark of Force – 15th Level Psi Warrior
- As a bonus action, choose Intelligence mod creatures within 30ft (which can include you) to become protected by half cover (+2 bonus to AC and Dexterity saves) for 1 minute or until you’re incapacitated.
- One free use per long rest and one die to use it again.
Another strong ability – making five creatures tougher for a minute, without needing to concentrate on it. You’ll be meeting creatures that hit very hard at this level of play, and avoiding one or two hits will definitely help.
Telekinetic Master – 18th Level Psi Warrior
- You can cast the 5th level Telekinesis spell without components, using Intelligence as the spellcasting ability. On each turn, while you concentrate on the spell, you gain one attack as a bonus action. One free use per long rest, and then spend a die to use it again.
- This spell has a 60ft range and a 10-minute duration. It is like the big brother of Telekinetic Movement. It takes an action to cast and an action to use each turn – although you don’t have to use the action each turn, you’ll still gain the bonus action attack regardless, as long as you keep concentrating.
- You can affect creatures and objects with this.
- You can lift a Huge or small creature with a skill contest – your Intelligence vs the creature’s Strength. If you win you can move the creature 30ft in any direction (but not more than 60ft total). The creature is restrained (speed zero, attack rolls against it have advantage, its attacks and Dexterity saves have disadvantage) until the end of your next turn. On subsequent turns, you can repeat the contest using your action.
- You can lift an object weighing up to 1000 pounds. If the object is being worn or held you can use the same contested skill check to remove it from its owner. You can move objects up to 30ft again, and can exert fine control over them (open/close doors, pouring contents from a vial, etc).
Notes on Telekinetic Master
Again, a very flexible and interesting ability. The creature effect lasts for two turns with one check, so in the first turn, you can use your action to restrain a creature and attack with your bonus action with advantage, and in the following turn you can Action Surge and attack up to it seven times (at this level of play) with advantage. You don’t have to lift it in the air, you can restrain a creature on the ground and your whole party can wail on it with advantage. Being able to forcibly remove an object from another creature is a great way to remove something from an enemy – a mage’s spellcasting focus, the MacGuffin, a weapon, their lunch.
The duration of the spell is fantastic, and Fighters get proficiency in Constitution saves so you should be able to keep it up for extended periods. This one feels more impactful as a combat ability than Telekinetic Movement however the potential uses outside combat are again legion.
I think the Psi Warrior is really interesting. The out-of-combat utility of your features is amazing for a Fighter, and in combat you have your own unique fighting style – moving allies around, knocking enemies over, and leaping all over the battlefield.
The range of almost all your abilities is 30ft, so if you want to go for a ranged combatant you need to take this into account. You can use your leap to move within range, attack/use your abilities and then move back again. Knocking creatures prone however does seem to favor melee combat a bit, and in melee, you don’t need to worry so much about the 30ft range.
Assuming that you will be investing in your Intelligence later in the game, this subclass just keeps getting better and better. It might not be quite as impactful as some other Fighter subclasses at level 3, however, I think it draws level once you reach level 7 and then starts to move ahead with some excellent late-game abilities.
Fighters get more ASIs and can potentially get more feats than any other class, however, the Psi Warrior gains a lot from having very high Intelligence so you may want to concentrate more on your ability scores than usual (having said that, a Headband of Intellect is only an uncommon item).
You do gain some great bonus action options, although the first of these doesn’t really come online until level 7, and you won’t be able to use your Psi-powered bonus actions all the time, so having another option for your bonus action would still work well.
Polearm Master works well for most fighters. The extra reach and opportunity attack options are always great, as is the bonus action attack. Adding Great Weapon Master to a heavy weapon wielding Psi Warrior is also a great option for boosting your damage, and you have a couple of ways of generating advantage in melee to offset the -5 to hit and trigger the +10 damage.
Dual Wielder is another option for a bonus action attack, and you don’t need to worry about having a free hand for your abilities.
Telekinetic would be a feat that would match the theme well, the extra point of Intelligence helps and the bonus action 5ft pull/push from this is free so you could use it as a default and save your Psi dice for larger movements of allies (or moving objects) as needed. An invisible mage hand is nice too (and something the subclass probably should have got for free).
Fey Touched gives you a point of Intelligence, one use of Misty Step, and access to one other spell. There are some interesting options here – Bane could help your Psi abilities, Dissonant Whispers also causes psychic damage and might suit your theme – Bless, Hex, Hunter’s Mark, Silvery Barbs, and Gift of Alacrity are all good choices.
Shadow Touched is also very interesting. Again a point of Intelligence, but this time you gain Invisibility for up to an hour. Invisibility only ends if you attack or cast a spell and most of your abilities are neither of these things. It would make you an amazing burglar – worth going for a Dexterity-based build and some Stealth as well – as well as potentially allowing you to remain invisible in combat – you can still use your Psi-Powered Leap, Telekinetic Movement, Protective Field, Bulwark of Force and the Help action all while remaining completely unseen. Maybe not the most impactful but it would be great fun. Cause Fear would probably be my choice for the extra spell.
Sentinel is another great option for a defender, as is Heavy Armor Master if you’re going for a Strength-based build, or Shield Master for bonus action shoves. Wielding two weapons and taking Dual Wielder would be something a bit different to try as well – it would give you a reliable bonus action attack and you don’t need a hand free for spellcasting. Crusher and Slasher are both good half-feats that can also give you a bit more control – either knocking creatures back with Crusher, or slowing them down with Slasher.
If you are going for a ranged combatant then Sharpshooter is a must-have. You don’t gain a reliable way to gain advantage to your ranged attacks on your own until 18th level and your abilities mainly only have a range of 30ft, however, you can still knock enemies prone (or back 10ft) using ranged attacks which could help your frontliners, and you can leap into range (and out again) during your turn. Crossbow Expert would give you a bonus action attack option.
Pretty much every race will work well with the Psi Warrior. Smaller races are not the best wielders of heavy weapons. Githyanki and Githzerai are obviously tailor-made here, and Kalashtar feels a very thematic fit as well.
As always, Custom Lineage and Variant Human are great choices with yet another feat. This might be particularly useful as you want to concentrate on boosting your Intelligence too. A ‘half feat’ with +1 Intelligence at level 1 can give a great start.
The ‘near dead’ Lineages of Reborn, Hexblood, or Dhamphir could easily reflavor the psionic abilities as additional deathless powers. A Dhamphir leaping from wall to ceiling to wall would be great fun.
Battle Smith or Armorer Artificer can allow you to also do your attacks with your Intelligence score and remove most of your MAD issues. You are probably best off starting in Artificer and multiclassing once you hit level 3. It will take you a while to power up with this combination so this would best suit a game that starts at a higher level and/or a one-shot.
Bladesinging Wizard is another interesting multiclass option for a more Dexterity + Intelligence-based build. You only need 2 levels to activate your Bladesong ability. War Wizard also has some nice features that would work well.
A Rogue would also be an option, in particular the Soulknife or Arcane Trickster. The Soulknife also gets a pool of Psionic Energy dice, however, you are supposed to keep the two pools separate (although a nice DM might let you combine them into a single pool, which would give you more flexibility).
Multiclassing into a Totem Warrior Barbarian can eventually give you resistance to all damage while raging! You can use most of your abilities while raging too.
A simple Strength-based defender build could start with Custom Lineage + Heavy Armor Master, adding Sentinel or Shield Master or Telekinetic later and using a one-handed weapon and shield. You can help defend your allies by moving them out of danger, using Protective Field, or (later) using Bulwark of Force. This build concentrates on the defensive side and doesn’t prioritize damage.
A Dexterity-based striker could use two-weapon fighting with shortswords and add Dual Wielder (rapiers), plus potentially Shadow Touched. You could have a Criminal background, or take a dip into Rogue.
Starting with a Battle Smith and multiclassing into Psi Warrior would make your character less MAD. You’d need to survive the first two levels of Battle Smith without much Strength or Dexterity, and this build would take a while to get going (and gain extra attack + first ASI) but would be extremely effective once you reach level 8 or so (Battle Smith 3, Psi Warrior 5). You could also get magic weapons and armor from your Artificer infusions, some useful spells (Cure Wounds, Faerie Fire, Shield) plus the Steel Defender can help your party out in battle.
For damage optimization, you could go for the classic Polearm Master + Great Weapon Master combination and wield a heavy halberd. Use Telekinetic Thrust to knock any size creature prone and then go to town with the bonus damage from Great Weapon Master. You could add Sentinel later for more control and more chances to land opportunity attacks.
A ranged attacker could use longbows with Sharpshooter and the Archery Fighting Style, and Psi Powered Leap to move you in and out of the 30ft range of your abilities if necessary. Add Fey Touched for Hunter’s Mark or Hex and some extra damage on each attack.
That wraps up my review of the Psi Warrior! In summary, it’s a flexible subclass with loads of out-of-combat utility which will get stronger and stronger as you move into tier 3 and start boosting your Intelligence as well.
Please cast Message in the comments either here or on YouTube if you have any questions or suggestions! You can explore our other content about Fighters here.