A Guide to the Mounted Combat build in 5e DnD

Mounted combat is a unique style of fighting in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, and almost any class can participate. Those wanting to maximize their horseback potential- or any beast for that matter- will want to follow this guide to build and play properly. 

A Mounted Combatant is dangerous and gains unique benefits that most would not think existed in D&D, such as being able to redirect damage between you and your mount. This guide will explore the benefits, recommended Races and classes, combat strategies, and party tactics to maximize your effectiveness on the battlefield.

Benefits of a Mounted Combat build 

Increased Mobility

Perhaps the most obvious advantage, a Mounted Combatant gains movement equal to their mount. Horses will outspeed nearly every playable class unless a Player Character heavily builds toward increasing movement speed, and those skilled enough to fly atop a dragon or wyvern will not only move faster but be able to reach heights otherwise impossible to reach. 

A slow mount will also overtake your movement, but this will certainly give other benefits, such as increased defense or being higher up, making it harder for enemies to hit you. 

Mounted Combat build 5e

Heightened Reach

As a Mounted Combatant, your reach will extend when making attacks, likely through the use of a spear or lance. Normally, melee weapons have a 5-foot reach, but this can extend beyond 5 feet when properly preparing to fight while mounted. 

Of course, if you were to mount mid-combat, you would not suddenly gain the extra reach if the only weapon you have is a regular sword, but there are plenty of ways to gain the proper weapon, such as via Hexblade mechanics. The heightened reach will allow you to strike without being struck back in a multitude of situations. 

Versatile Beyond Belief

If you can mount it, you can utilize the unique advantages of it. There is a lot of versatility to the Mounted Combatant, as they can mount a flying creature and gain the ability to fly in their movement.

Or mount an aquatic creature and quickly move through a body of water where others must wait on their boats or along the shoreline. Depending on the flavoring you add to your character, the creatures you mount will be quite powerful in situations that allow them. 

Recommended Races for a mounted combatant build

Your Race affects your class much more than it will your riding, but some Races are inherently better at the style than others. Generally speaking, adaptability is favored over focusing on a specific stat or skill earned. 

Also, be sure to check with your Dungeon Master if the more exotic recommendations are allowed, as they come from expanded material that might not be available to everyone at the table. 


Humans are the epitome of adaptability. In a playstyle that works with a lot of classes, mounted combat can easily become a Multiple Ability Score Dependent style of fighting. The Human is able to choose their inherent boosts upon creation, so there is no drawback for you if you are planning to utilize a mount as much as possible. 

Additionally, if you take up mounted combat later in the campaign, the Human will likely have the appropriate boosts anyway, since again, they can choose a variety of inherent advantages. 

Centaur (from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)- 

There are not a lot of “absolute bests” in Dungeons and Dragons. The Centaur is arguably the absolute best pick for mounted combat, simply because they are always mounted, due to their hybrid form. 

You will have a boost to your movement speed that rivals horses and other mountable creatures, and your weapons of choice can be those with extended range, due to your larger size. However, this is one of those Races that requires Dungeon Master approval, as it could be considered rule-breaking or too strong, especially at Player Level 1’s campaign start. 

Centaurs tend to be both strong and bulky to begin with, and this will only increase with levels and class investment, so the debate is less about if it is the best for mounted combat and more if it is allowed as is or needs modification.

Mounted Combat build in 5e


Another class that is inherently strong and large, the Half-Orcs will be able to wield large lances with ease while riding on their trusty steeds. Half-Orcs also have Relentless Endurance, which supports their survivability, and Savage Attacks, which tacks additional damage to critical hits. 

Both of these abilities support a Mounted Combatant, as the rider can redirect strikes to their mount to themselves, and the advantageous attack checks that come from moving at high speeds will lead to more Natural 20s than average per encounter. 


The Tabaxi is a cat-like humanoid playable Race that is quite nimble in nature. They are known for their speed, grace, and stealthiness, but their racial abilities make them unique choices for mounted combat-focused builds. While mounted, you can utilize the standard strategies, but when dismounted, the Tabaxi has access to Feline Agility, which increases their movement speed to rival mounted units as is. 

They also have Cat’s Claws, which grants natural weapons when unarmed, so the Tabaxi can focus on investing in gear for their mount and mounted combat playstyle. For a hit-and-run style of action, a mounted Tabaxi is a premier option.

Best Classes for the Mounted Combatant


The Paladin tends to be properly armed for mounted combat inherently. They are based on the classic idea of a king’s knights after all. If you play the intricate Hexblade Paladin, your main weapon can even take the form of a jousting lance for the extended range. The high Strength plus their smite abilities will bring enemies down from atop their steed.

The high Armor Class supports redirecting attacks, healing abilities will keep the partner creature healthy, and the powerful spells will round out offense to end combat quickly. The Paladin is definitely a well-rounded choice for any Mounted Combatant.


Barbarians have two separate options they can take for mounted combat, or combine them for extra potency. One option is to follow the Barbarian’s inherent affinity with nature and animals, allowing you to always find a partner to support your combat prowess. 

The Barbarian’s primal rage will also support mounted combat, although unconventional. The bonus to damage output as well as resistance to damage intake make the Barbarian a force to be reckoned with, and the increased movement will only amplify this further.


Rangers are skilled in both ranged and melee combat, making them effective Mounted Combatants. Along with this, the Ranger is good at finding animal companions and forging strong bonds with them. In a roleplay-heavy campaign, this can be the difference between a successful encounter or a failure, as the bonds formed can and will influence the performance of the Ranger. 


Lastly, the Fighter is a great option for mounted combat. Like the Human, the Fighter is incredibly versatile and can take on a variety of roles for the party as well as themselves. With both high defenses and high damage, the Fighter can take up the role of mounted combat, either planned out ahead of time or as an adaptation that your party needs.

Mounted build Strategies and Tactics

Choose the Right Mount for You

You will want to choose a mount that fits your playstyle and character needs. While one can take up mounted combat to adapt for their party, the chosen creature should be an entirely personal choice. 

Consider factors such as speed, strength, and special abilities. Horses, Griffons, Wyverns, and Elephants all bring something unique to the table, so choose what you want to use based on the factors you place the most importance in. Use what your character is already good at and let your trusted steed compliment those strengths while you protect them with your skills.

Training and Bonding

Invest time and resources into training your mount. Do not skimp or hold back in proper care, as the more you put in, the more you will get back in return. Establishing a strong bond built on trust and understanding will enhance your mount’s combat effectiveness. 

A Dungeon Master likely will not just allow you to ride a creature into battle seamlessly; strong but respectful training is required to have your steed rush into battle with you, so take the time to really play out the roleplay aspects of taming an animal.

Utilize Your Mobility for Positioning

As a Mounted Combatant, you have access to a lot more mobility than most other players and NPCs. You can utilize this accordingly, based on your mount, fighting style, and weapons of choice. 

Perhaps you have a Warhorse and are covered in plate armor: you can lead the charge from the front lines to open a path for your allies; or maybe you are an archer atop a Pegasus: you can shoot arrows from the sky, using the sun to blind your opponents when they look up. 

We have not even touched on the possibilities of landing your flying mounts onto perches out of reach or combining water-breathing spells and potions with aquatic mounts to move underwater. As you can see, with the right circumstances, you will be able to position yourself however you want when acting as a Mounted Combatant. 

One thing to note is how often to move- it is up to your judgment whether you should be constantly moving or be more conservative in your repositioning when in combat with a foe.

Be Aware of the Terrain

Going off the previous point, while you have a lot of chances to position yourself well, you still need to be aware of the terrain. Get familiar with your mount’s movement. Ask yourself how they handle difficult terrain and figure out if they can cross it easily or if moving on foot would be better.

Some mounts may do well in harsh climates, much like a camel in the desert. As an aside, by this point, you should have determined if your mount is always with you or not, and where it will stay when you cannot take it with you. If you know the terrain of your upcoming journey, determine if you will need to leave your trusted animal friend behind or not. 

Coordinate Attacks

Coordinate your attacks with your allies, both player-controlled and animal alike. While your allies will be using their own abilities and attack actions, your mount can fight too.

Coordinate your charge to attack simultaneously, or dismount and let them fight on their own while you work on foot. The various mounted combat feats available can work in tandem with your own class abilities, leading to devastating results.

Equipment and Gear

You do need specific equipment to utilize mounted combat. It is highly unlikely you will be allowed to ride a horse without a saddle, reins, or armor on the horse itself. The following two sections will explain the minimum of what is needed for proper mounted combat.


Invest in a high-quality saddle to ensure your mount’s comfort and stability remain intact. D&D is a fantasy game, so magic saddles definitely exist and can be used to enhance your mount’s actions or durability. 

Armor and Weaponry

You need armor you are proficient in, but so does your mount. Consider what it is capable of using with your gear in mind still. 

Additionally, consider your weaponry. While you gain extended reach while in mounted combat, it will not happen magically if your weapons have normal, melee range. You will need to acquire weapons such as a spear to give yourself the added range. 

Conclusion on Mounted Combat builds in 5e

Mounted combat is an intricate art in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, but when done properly, can provide devastatingly strong results. Once you pass the barrier of entry, you will find that almost any class and Race can partake in mounted combat, but the ones we outlined excel in the style.

From Centaurs that are always considered mounted, to Humans that can take advantage of mounts at any point in a campaign, we have explored what makes mounted combat as interesting as it is.

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