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DnD playtest makes Fighters much better at being Wizards

The Eldritch Knight DnD fighter subclass gets healthy buffs in the latest One DnD playtest document, as part of a general One DnD Fighter glow up.

DnD fighter subclass Eldritch Knight - a dark skinned elf in leather armor wielding a sword scimitar and staff - MTG card art for Numa, Joraga Chieftain, by Kieran Yanner

The latest One DnD playtest document, published on DnD Beyond on September 7, buffs the DnD fighter subclass Eldritch Knight. The Eldritch Knight 5e subclass has always been popular, but the reality of giving the Fighter DnD class a spattering of Wizard 5e spells hasn’t always lived up to the fantasy of being a sword-swinging spell-slinger: the playtest seeks to redress that.

The biggest buff to the Eldritch Knight affects the level seven War Magic and level 18 Improved War Magic abilities. In the basic Fighter 5e version of the Eldritch Knight, these allow the Knight to make a weapon attack as a bonus action each time they use their action for the turn to cast a cantrip (at level seven) or a spell (at level 18).

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As high level fighters get to make three or four attacks every time they take the attack action, the basic 5e Eldritch Knight sacrifices two or three weapon attacks whenever it casts a spell.

The playtest version allows the Knight to substitute one of their extra  attacks from an attack action to cast a cantrip (at level seven), or two of their extra attacks to cast a single-action spell (at level 18). This gives them an extra bonus action and up to two extra weapon attacks compared to the 5e version of this class feature.

The original Eldritch Knight suffered from extremely restricted spell selection: until level eight, the Knight could only choose Abjuration or Evocation spells, which are focused on protection and direct elemental damage respectively. The only restriction for the playtest Eldritch Knight is that two of their first three spells must be chosen from these schools. From level four onwards they have free access to the Wizard spell list.

DnD fighter subclass Eldritch Knight - a fighter wielding a Vorpal Blade carrying the head of a Medusa - Vorpal Blade MTG Card art by Caio Monterro

The playtest Eldritch Knight enjoys some more flexibility, too. They’re free to swap out Cantrips whenever they gain a level. They can also use an Arcane Focus to cast spells with a material component, rather than a Component Pouch (or the specific ingredients). That’s mostly aesthetic, but a knight wielding a sword and wand is a lot cooler than a knight frantically pulling bat guano and sulfur out of their pockets to cast Fireball.

Unearthed Arcana playtest document seven adds a variety of buffs to the basic Fighter. Among other things, they recover their Second Wind healing ability after short rest rather than long rest; at level five they gain the ability ‘Tactical Shift’ which grants a free half move that doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks after using Second Wind.

All told, it’s a well-rounded set of buffs for the Eldritch Knight, a subclass that already suffers from needing a solid Intelligence score on top of the core fighter DnD attributes.

This is just one of many big changes in playtest document 7, including reversing a radical new Wizard feature added in earlier playtests, nerfing an iconic 5e spell, and introducing new subclasses for both the Barbarian and Fighter.