D&D 5e best Rogue feats article featured art is “Weasel Thief” by iZonbi, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
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Feats are powerful customizations for any character. Rogues get one additional Ability Score Improvement compared to other classes, allowing them to choose high stats and/or diverse feats. Given this versatility, it’s befitting to review which feats would be best for different types of Rogue characters. I’ll discuss the best choices, the good-but-not-best options, and the niche options that might not come up or pay off often. Read onward to find my top choices for Rogue feats!
How to Select Feats for Rogues
Most Rogues have the luxury of focusing on Dexterity without needing to invest much in other stats. A few subclasses will vary in their needs for mental stats.
The Rogue class receives one ASI more than other classes, giving it six opportunities for feats or stats. Only the Fighter gets more ASI opportunities with seven. This means Rogues can afford to get creative and try interesting feats.
If a feat boosts a stat like Dexterity, it will be more useful for the Rogue. Feats that boost other stats will be incredibly helpful, too.
Best Feats for Rogues
These are the Rogue feats that are, in my experience, the most commonly useful feats for Rogues. They also impact the game in satisfying ways. These feats can define a Rogue’s playstyle, so I don’t recommend choosing only from the ‘best’ list. You’ll probably pick a ‘best’ feat to define your style, then pick a lesser feat to support your goals. I’m listing my suggestions in alphabetical order.
Actor (Disguise Tactics)
My first 5e character was a Rogue who liked to impersonate people to infiltrate and gain information. You’ll gain +1 to Charisma while enhancing already-strong Rogue skills. Expertise in Deception coupled with Actor is a strong combination. This feat further enables a playstyle that is very fun to me.
Alert (Ambush Tactics)
Because of the way surprise works, you need to roll a higher initiative value than anyone you’re surprising. Targets that snap out of the surprised condition before you attack will take the wind out of your sails, especially if you’re an Assassin archetype. Initiative +5 is excellent for ambushes and combat in general when you want to act fast. You’ll also avoid being surprised yourself.
If you like the Alert feat, consider gaining the Gift of Alacrity spell from this feat. You might even prefer this feat over Alert because you get a stat boost and Misty Step. Gift of Alacrity isn’t as reliable as Alert, but the other benefits may be worth it to you if you only want Alert for its +5 to Initiative.
Particularly useful for Arcane Trickster, this feat gives a mental stat boost in addition to Misty Step and a spell of choice from the schools of divination or enchantment. Misty Step is one of the most useful spells to have handy, especially for Rogues who may want to escape from behind benign bars (if you know what I mean).
I recommend choosing Bless or Heroism. Your party’s Cleric will have better things to concentrate on when you leave the baby levels, so pick up Bless/Heroism as an easy spell to buff your party. If you’re not into that, you can roll the dice to see if you can get a foe to fail a saving throw from Bane, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Compelled Duel, Command, or Charm Person.
Mobile (Non-Swashbuckler Rogues)
You’ll often be able to attack and move away by Disengaging with your Cunning Action, but if that’s proving to not be enough, you can take the Mobile feat. This feat will allow you to make a melee attack and move away freely from a single creature while helping you to move faster and Dash with Cunning Action instead of having to Disengage.
Since the ability to move away from enemies after you attack them is the main reason to take this feat, you can skip it if you’re a Swashbuckler Rogue.
Grab a quick stat treat, then gain Invisibility and your choice of a necromancy/illusion spell (I recommend Disguise Self or Silent Image). These spells suit any Rogue’s skillset and add to an Arcane Trickster’s repertoire. A solid choice for a Rogue to gain magical tricks. Arcane Tricksters don’t learn many spells, so Shadow Touched is a welcome supplement.
Skill Master (Skill-Monkeys)
More skills, more Expertise, fewer skill problems! Rogues already have impressive skill checks thanks to Expertise, so gaining additional skills can enable a skilled build. Plus, you can gain a stat point. This feat enables a player to be the skill monkey of the party.
Sentinel (Melee Rogue)
Many players focus on this feat’s ability to stop a foe in its tracks, but Rogues gain additional benefits. If you can opportunity attack enemies even after they Disengage, you can score an out-of-turn attack to deal Sneak Attack an additional time during the round. You’ll also be able to attack as a reaction when nearby allies are attacked, giving you another Sneak Attack option outside of your own turn. You’ll only want to take this if you tend to be a melee combatant Rogue.
Enemies may attack you to deal damage and bait out your reaction with Uncanny Dodge. You’ll need to budget your reaction appropriately.
Secondary Rogue Feats
These feats aren’t bad, but you’ll probably only pick them if you already chose something to define your playstyle.
Bountiful Luck (Halfling only)
The Halfling race lends itself well to Rogue builds, but this usually amazing feat is less valuable to Rogues who want to use their reactions for other things (taking half damage from an attack or making opportunity attacks). If you’re in a position where you don’t need your reaction utilization, it’s probably because you’ve stayed out of the fray to make ranged attacks instead. Staying far away from the action could mean you’re too far away to utilize this feat, so keep your party composition in mind before choosing it.
You only need to land one attack since you can only Sneak Attack once per turn, but taking this feat will give you another attack option in case you miss. After all, you need to get your Sneak Attack damage every turn. You’ll also not lose Sneak Attack potential while making ranged attacks while enemies are all up in your grill (can’t Sneak Attack if you have disadvantage).
Defensive Duelist (melee builds)
Rogues already have an impressive reaction with their Uncanny Dodge, which allows them to halve the damage of an attack made against them that they can see. Just like Uncanny Dodge, Defensive Duelist is best against a single enemy because hoards would get many attacks against your once-per-round reaction. Having said that, what’s better than halving damage? Taking no damage! If you think there is a good chance that your proficiency bonus is enough to increase your AC beyond a particular attacker’s reach, you could potentially take no damage when you succeed. If you want to diversify your skills, other options won’t compete for your reaction.
Any Rogue player who enjoys fishing for critical hits will want to select Elven Accuracy. Rolling more d20s leads to more chances to crit. You can increase your roll frequency by 50% if you are consistently attacking with advantage. Remember, this feat is for Elves only. Wood Elves will do well with this feat since they can hide in a lightly obscured nature area to gain advantage on an attack.
This feat became more reliably useful when the Rogue class was given Steady Aim in TCoE.
Infernal Constitution (Tiefling only)
While you’re adept at avoiding damage from AOE damage that involves a Dexterity saving throw, you’re still susceptible to damage from other saving throws like Constitution. Gaining resistance to cold and poison damage (which often inflict damage with Constitution saving throws) will further bolster your defenses. You’ll also receive a boost to your Constitution stat to potentially increase your modifier and hitpoints.
Always useful… But I’m bored of it. Lucky also won’t give you advantage for Sneak Attack (just rerolls).
Great for boosting your Dexterity by one while giving you a potential damage boost for your weapon. Keep in mind it won’t affect Sneak Attack dice. Piercer works for both ranged and melee attacks that a Rogue makes.
Resilient (Defensive Boost)
Rogues start with proficiency in Dexterity and Intelligence saving throws, and they later gain proficiency with Wisdom saving throws thanks to their Slippery Mind feature at level fifteen. Choosing the Resilient feat will allow you a fourth saving throw proficiency, for which I recommend Constitution. Boost your hitpoints while guarding your health against malignant assaults. Rogues thrive when they can be squirrely, avoiding everything the enemy throws at them, so Resilient is a brilliant way to passively achieve that.
Niche Rogue Feats
These are solid feats that are less likely to be picked. Rogues will generally have other focuses from my feat lists above, but these might make interesting feats for the right roguish character. This is especially true for subclasses that may have features that can benefit from feats that would normally be useless for a Rogue.
Drow High Magic (Drow only)
Excellent spells to keep up your sleeve. Detect Magic can give you Batman vision if you’re the investigative type, such as the Inquisitive subclass.
Healer (Thief Rogue’s Fast Hands)
This is particularly useful for a Thief who can use Fast Hands, meaning a healer’s kit can be used as a bonus action instead of an action to stabilize a dying ally. This functions as a Healing Word spell since the feat also restores one hitpoint when stabilizing with a healer’s kit, and a Thief can use a healer’s kit with Fast Hands as a bonus action.
Inspiring Leader (Charismatic Rogues)
I think every party deserves a leader to inspire them with temporary hitpoints. Since Rogues could foreseeably spend stat points in Charisma, Rogues might make excellent leaders. This feat would also display your friendship and trustworthiness if your party tends to distrust you for your roguish ways.
I’ve placed this as a niche feat option because it can be frustrating if enemy spellcasters teleport away before you can react to attack. It’s also frustrating if enemies aren’t casting spells when you get in close. Rogues also thrive as skirmishers who get in and get out during combat. They don’t want to be sitting ducks in the middle of a fray. Mage Slayer Rogues should be wise and not rush into every fight.
Cunning Action enables you to weave through frontline enemies so you can reach spellcasters. If you have a way to gain Sneak Attack damage as well, you could potentially get an attack during the enemy spellcaster’s turn so you can deal Sneak Attack damage on the enemy’s turn in addition to your own turn. In other words, any method you have to use your reaction to make an attack on someone else’s turn could potentially double your damage output.
You’ll usually be limited to Sneak Attack once per round unless you can make an opportunity attack or otherwise attack as a reaction. You’ll become a mage’s worst nightmare when you get up in their face. Make sure you have advantage or an ally by the same target or your attacks won’t qualify for Sneak Attack!
I recommend this feat if you’re also taking Alert and Fey Touched to boost your Initiative rolls because if you can get to a spellcaster in the first round of combat before they lay down their big control spell, you’ll have a greater impact on the fight. You want to move first as a slayer of pesky spellcasters.
Learn a cantrip like Booming Blade to empower your attacks. Your other cantrip choice can be something tricky like Minor Illusion or Mending. Mending can seal contraband items in a container by breaking the container and then Mending it shut with the hidden item. There are level-one spells that will be useful to you as well, such as Disguise Self, Feather Fall, Find Familiar, and Absorb Elements (to name a few). Absorb Elements can be life-saving against spells that don’t use Dexterity saving throws.
The Inquisitive subclass can utilize lip reading and boosts to passive Perception and Investigation. Rogues are often excellent scouts with their skill dependability, and the Arcane Trickster can become Invisible. Reading lips will allow you to keep your distance. The stat boost to Intelligence or Wisdom is also useful. This feat is more useful in games where a DM is using Passive Perception often.
This is only good if your DM is enforcing lighting rules. Skulker allows you to hide in dim light (light obscurement), so it’s pretty good if you’re group style matches Skulker’s benefits. It’s also only good if your DM is going to enable you to be out in the open in dim light and still able to hide. These may seem like small details, but you really need to see how your DM will rule this. Experience tells me DMs will either be so accommodating that you don’t need Skulker or so strict that even Skulker won’t help you.
There are too many conditions for this to be a good feat. I have to keep it as a niche feat for that reason. I didn’t previously bother mentioning this feat, but there were enough eyebrows raised about its absence that I knew I needed to explain myself.
War Caster (Arcane Trickster Rogues)
Surprised? Don’t be! If you’re an Arcane Trickster with Booming Blade, you’ll deal additional damage with your opportunity attacks. Even if you’re not an Arcane Trickster, you could learn Booming Blade from the Magic Initiate feat or by multiclassing. You may also have other spell options for your opportunity attacks, like Phantasmal Force.
Wood Elf Magic (Wood Elf only)
The spells you gain will increase your speed by ten feet while giving you and your party a +10 to Stealth checks. You’ll finally see your clunky Paladin party member succeed at stealth checks! Assassin Rogues can really benefit from this as they allow the party to Stealth well. Scout Rogues also thematically fit the spells of Wood Elf Magic. Additionally, Wood Elves make great Rogues already since they can easily hide with Mask of the Wild, so you’re likely to pick Elf as your race anyway!
Choose Rogue Feats that Appeal to You
Feat selection is always arbitrary, but Rogues have diverse skill sets that can benefit from a variety of feats. Choose the feats that sound like the most fun to you, whether you want to infiltrate, investigate, or obliterate your enemies! D&D 5e is surprisingly open for the types of Rogue feats you can select.
I’d love to hear which D&D 5e feats you think are the best for Rogue characters, especially if you’re playing one recently. Cast Message in the comments section below so we can talk about Rogues and feats. We’re not speaking Thieves’ Cant in this other Rogue content. Have a lovely adventuring day!
25 thoughts on “<b>The Best Rogue Feats</b>: D&D 5e Roguish Secrets”
Just curious that the sharpshooter feat was never on here. Is there a reason you would recommend not to use it?
Hi Joseph, great question. When I play a Rogue, I’m banking on getting that Sneak Attack damage. I would rather reliably get the Sneak Attack damage for an attack that lands than possibly get +10 on a turn. Other classes rack up more attacks for more instances of +10 damage, and they’re not reliant on a once-per-turn damage boost like Sneak Attack. In other words, other classes can afford to gamble more. Rogues can find ways to attack twice on a turn, but I prefer to stick to one-and-done tactics to get Sneak Attack with a single blow.
In addition, I’m a bit of a rebel in that I like to make feats work that aren’t top of mind for everyone. D&D 5e has been out long enough that many people have played with a Sharpshooter character already, and they may want new ideas. I try to bring something fresh to my recommendations in addition to what has proven to be effective.
Sharpshooter is pretty much always great or ok for a ranged weapon character, but I don’t recommend it for a Rogue. I’ll add this information to my article.
It’s probably worth highlighting wood elves in the Elven Accuracy section, Mask of the Wild synergizes really well.
I like Healer on a Thief, Fast Hands allows it to be used on a bonus action.
Svirfneblin Magic is another great racial feat. Permanent free non-detection is amazing on a stealthy character, the other spells are useful too. We need more Svirfneblin!
All good points. I updated the article to point them out, and I linked to your YouTube channel to say thank you for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂
I’m really fond of Magic Initiate for Booming Blade, especially for a Swashbuckler Rogue with a decent CHA bonus, because Alert becomes unnecessary (or at least something that can be delayed until later in your career, and Mobile becomes something you only want if you’re desperate for 10 extra feet of movement. The bonus damage is nice, but discouraging pursuit is even nicer. 😉 And Longstrider is almost as effective in a pinch as Mobile anyway.
Also, if you’re playing a Soulknife rogue the Skilled, Prodigy and Skill Expert feats, taken together, basically mean you end up more concerned with which skills NOT to take than which ones you can AFFORD to take … and this is true whether you’re playing a half-elf or a variant human. With the Psi-Bolstered Knack ability and eventually Reliable Talent, you will basically never fail a skill check. So everybody say it with me now, “Bond. James Bond.” 😁😉😈
What do you think of taking Fighting Initiate for Archery or Blind Fighting?
Heya! I wouldn’t recommend it. Rogues get Blindsense at level 14 without needing Blind Fighting. Archery isn’t as good as getting a 20 in Dexterity, so ASI or a feat with a Dex boost is better. If you had a 20 in Dex and wanted Archery for improved accuracy, it’s still only +2. There are other feats that seem much better to take if you’re dishing out ranged damage. Archery FS isn’t horrible, but it’s outclassed.
I wanted to ask why the duel wielded feat isn’t a good idea. With duel wielder you can get two rapiers, adding more damage as well as a +1 to your AC. The second attack from the bonus action can potentially trigger sneak attack if the main hand misses. Plus an extra d8 on a swashbuckling rogue is always welcome since you’ll be one on one fighting enemies.
Maybe I’m thinking it’s better than it is though? Am I wasting a feat?
Hi James, I’m happy to expound on that. Dual Wielder does allow you to do the things you described. However, here are the problems. Increasing from a d6 to a d8 while dual-wielding will raise average damage by one. AC increases by one. It does not give you the Fighting Style ‘Two-Weapon Fighting’, so you’re bonus action attack still won’t add your attack modifier as damage (Rogues don’t get Fighting Styles). So you ultimately get a few +1 bonuses at the cost of a feat. The problem is you could get those same benefits from increasing your Dexterity stat by two instead of taking a feat. It’s a bad feat because the benefits disappear compared to increasing your stats. If you have a 20 in Dexterity, then you can make a case for it if no other feats sound tempting, but I’d still choose other feats. I recommend thinking of dual-wielding with your Rogue as a way to make sure you get Sneak Attack damage each turn, not as a specialization.
Thinking the Moderate Armor is an intriguing one; get the plus 1 and armor improved for strength builds with low dex or maybe melee rogues for the shield proficiency.
Yeah, it’s great for melee Rogues to boost their defenses! You only get one reaction per round to use Uncanny Dodge or make an opportunity attack, so you don’t want to get hit more than once if you can help it.
I am about to hit 8th level with my Arcane Trickster.
What is your opinion on taking Ritual Caster feat (choosing Wizard) as a way to expand my limited spell casting ability?
Looks like it would give me immediately give me access to 2 of spells like Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify as extra “known” spells (casting them without spells slots), and also allow me to cast any wizard rituals up to 4th level that I find (Eg. Leomund’s Tiny Hut).
Is this as strong as it first appears?
It’s a valid feat, for sure! It depends on the style of your game. Those rituals can reinvent how you play. Phantom Steed is awesome!
Hmm…but re: the Skulker feat, in my mind it’s the second item that makes this a really cool feat:
When you are hidden from a creature and miss it with a ranged weapon attack, making the attack doesn’t reveal your position.
I have an Arcane Trickster rogue character (which I haven’t played yet) that uses primarily ranged attacks. The ability to not reveal my position due to a missed attack is ever so helpful, in my estimation. Perhaps it’s not the case for all (or most or many) rogues, but for mine I consider this much more than a niche feat.
I’m glad you brought this up because I’ve become more curious about Skulker. My perception is still that DMs and average scenarios wouldn’t get much out of it, but enough people have said they like it to make me question myself. I want to test Skulker sometime with a Dm who understands the surprise/hide/etc. rules well enough.
Sounds like a reasonable plan! You’ll have to let us all know your findings via another post or video — I know I’d love to see how it works for you!
How about Fighting Initiate for Two Weapon Fighting ? I am playing with Swashbuckler and reached lvl 4. Wondering if i Get 2 Dex (going to 20) or one feat .
I don’t know if is a good playing with two weapon fighting because the Sneak is just in the first attack. second one just the weapon. What do you think ?
Thought about Sentinel as well.
Hi Tadeu, two-weapon fighting is a sub-optimal mechanic in D&D 5e. It’s extremely detrimental because it requires a feat, a fighting style, and a bonus action to use effectively. That’s sooo much investment for so little return on that investment, so I don’t recommend investing in it. You can certainly wield light weapons and use your bonus action to attack in case your action attack misses. In other words, you can use your offhand attack as a backup plan to hopefully get your Sneak Attack and maybe boost your damage output very slightly if both attacks hit. Keep in mind the Rogue already has many uses for its bonus action, so don’t feel like you need to use two weapons to attack all the time.
I absolutely recommend increasing your Dexterity instead of taking feats for two-weapon fighting. There might be other feats in my article that would be better for you, but improving your Dex is great.
Awesome article! So many good choices. Thanks so much for narrowing down a super long list as I choose a rogue feat for the first time! My level 3 Arcane Trickster rogue is adventuring with a Paladin, Druid, and a Sorcerer; we are old friends in a long campaign together. Magic Initiate and Actor look super fun, but what’s best for our group? Should I be more of a melee fighter or ranged? Our paladin is the only one who can safely stay in melee. Should I get Alert or Mobile to help the group stay alive?
Hi Kara! I typically recommend Rogues to have a hand crossbow and a pair of daggers so they can attack at range until enemies close in. You want to avoid disadvantage on attacks so you don’t forfeit Sneak Attack, so having varied weapons will work well. Alert is a great choice to make sure you get into position at the start of combat. Positioning is important for Rogues because if you can get to a good spot on the battlefield where you won’t have to move again for a while, you can use Steady Aim (important new Rogue feature from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything) to gain advantage on your next attack on your turn (crossbow). As an Arcane Trickster, you might enjoy getting the Booming Blade cantrip and the Mobile feat so you can attack with your dagger to deal a bit more damage and punish them for moving to chase after you. Mobile will probably make you move faster than they do, so they’ll have to consider how to catch up with you, perhaps by dashing and forfeiting an attack, but you’ll always stay ahead of them with Mobile and Cunning Action.
I’m building a 1 hexblade / x swashbuckler Autumn Eladrin and go with elven accuracy and Lucky to land those deadly crits… The hexblade just gives so much to the swashbuckler…
It really does! It’s a fantastic combination. Elven Accuracy is fun, too.
Thinking of going assassin rogue/samurai fighter. Starting as rogue to get Dex and intelligence saves. Get to level 5 for the second attack and finish off the rogue. We are in a magic dominant society. Would mobile or resilient (to get wisdom saves) be the best first feat?
I would not get Resilient Wisdom on a Rogue because they get Slippery Mind at later levels (I think you’re saying your character will mostly be a Rogue). Mobile is great if you want to be a melee Rogue doing hit-and-runs, but not as important for a ranged Rogue. Lucky is also a good feat for protecting your saving throws without be redundant with Slippery Mind.