How To Sneak Attack With Style in D&D5e

How To Sneak Attack With Style in D&D5e

To sneak attack effectively in D&D5e requires a bit of strategy, tactics, and luck. As a rogue, you can tap into this unique ability that can turn the tide of any battle. In this article, we will explore what sneak attack is, how to use it effectively, and some tips for maximizing its potential. Sharpen those daggers and tighten those bow strings because it’s time to dissect sneak attack for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

Sneak Attack in D&D5e
The Rogue from Wizards of the Coast

What is Sneak Attack for D&D5e?

First, let’s talk about what sneak attack is. Sneak attack is a rogue class feature that allows you to deal extra damage when you attack a target that is unaware of your presence or when you attack a target that is engaged in combat with one of your allies. The extra damage starts at 1d6 and increases as you level up, making it a potent ability in combat.

Sneak Attack is described in detail in the Player’s Handbook. Specifically, you can find the rules for sneak attack on page 96 of the Player’s Handbook under the “Sneak Attack” heading. The description explains how the ability works, including when you can use it and how much extra damage it deals. It also provides some examples of when you might be able to use sneak attack in combat.

How to use Sneak Attack in D&D5e

Now that you know what sneak attack is let’s talk about how to use it effectively. The key to using sneak attack is to set yourself up for success. Positioning yourself correctly can make all the difference in dealing that extra damage. If you are able to get behind your enemy, you can take advantage of their blind spot and strike them where it hurts the most. Alternatively, you can wait for an ally to engage your target in combat, giving you the opportunity to strike from the shadows.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when using sneak attack is that it only works with finesse or ranged weapons. This means that you will need to choose your weapons carefully to take advantage of this ability. Daggers and short swords are excellent choices for melee attacks, while a short bow or crossbow is ideal for ranged attacks.

Another way to maximize the potential of sneak attack is to take advantage of the rogue’s cunning action ability. This allows you to use your bonus action to dash, disengage, or hide. Using the hide action can be especially useful, as it allows you to hide behind cover and wait for the perfect opportunity to strike.

How To Sneak Attack With Style in D&D5e
The Rogue from Wizards of the Coast

Creative Ways to Unleash your Attack

One of the most fun things about sneak attack is the variety of ways you can describe your attacks. Instead of simply saying, “I attack with my dagger,” you can describe how you sneak up behind your enemy, plunging your dagger into their back for extra damage. Or perhaps you shoot an arrow from a hidden position, striking your enemy in a vital spot for extra damage.

Sneak attack is a powerful ability that can turn the tide of any battle in D&D 5th edition. By positioning yourself correctly, choosing the right weapons, and taking advantage of the rogue’s abilities, you can deal extra damage to your enemies and help your party emerge victorious.

The Sneak Attack ability is not available to any other class by default but there are other clever ways to unlock or enhance this cool feature.

For example, the Arcane Trickster archetype for the Rogue class allows you to learn and cast spells, as well as use Sneak Attack with spells that require an attack roll, such as a ray of frost or green-flame blade.

Additionally, the multiclassing rules in D&D 5th edition allow characters to gain access to Sneak Attack by taking levels in the Rogue class. For example, a character who has levels in both the Fighter and Rogue classes can use Sneak Attack when attacking with a finesse or ranged weapon and meets the other criteria for the ability.

How To Sneak Attack With Style in D&D5e
A silly Goblin Rogue from D&D5e

It’s all about Doing it With Style!

Sneak attack in D&D5e has a huge amount of versatility that allows for some brutal creativity in combat. Here are some cool and unique ways to let the killer instinct shine with sneak attack:

Environmental Hazards

Use the environment to your advantage by luring enemies into traps or hazardous terrain. When an enemy is affected by a trap or other environmental hazard, they become vulnerable to sneak attack. For example, a rogue could lure an enemy into a pit trap and then attack them while they are prone for an extra sneak attack damage.


Use deception to your advantage by convincing your enemy that you are not a threat. Then, when their guard is down, strike with a surprise sneak attack. For example, a rogue could pretend to be a harmless traveler before suddenly pulling out a dagger and attacking with sneak attack.


Coordinate with your party to set up sneak attacks. A rogue can use their cunning action to hide, and then their ally can use an action to shove an enemy, knocking them prone and granting advantage to the rogue’s attack roll. This teamwork can result in a powerful sneak attack.


Use distractions to your advantage by drawing the attention of an enemy away from you. Then, while their attention is elsewhere, strike with a sneak attack. For example, a rogue could throw a rock to distract an enemy, and then attack them from behind while they are looking the other way.


Use disguises to get close to your enemies and strike with sneak attack. For example, a rogue could disguise themselves as a guard to get close to an enemy and then attack them with a surprise sneak attack.

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No Small Feats in Dungeons and Dragons

The creative ways to use sneak attack in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition are literally endless. With a little ingenuity and planning, a rogue can become a deadly force on and off the battlefield.

Feats are an optional rule in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition that allow characters to gain special abilities beyond what is granted by their class. Here are some of the best feats to use with sneak attack in D&D5e:


This feat is great for rogues who rely on ranged weapons to deal sneak attack damage. It allows you to ignore cover, shoot at long range without disadvantage, and take a -5 penalty to your attack roll in exchange for +10 damage. With a reliable way to get advantage, the extra damage from Sneak Attack can really add up with this feat.


The Mobile feat can help a rogue move around the battlefield and avoid opportunity attacks, which can be especially useful when trying to position yourself for a sneak attack. It also allows you to move away from enemies after making a melee attack without provoking opportunity attacks, making it easier to retreat and hide after a successful sneak attack.


The Alert feat gives you a bonus to your initiative rolls, which can help you act before your enemies and position yourself for a sneak attack. It also makes it harder for enemies to surprise you, which can be crucial for a rogue who relies on stealth and surprise attacks.


This feat is perfect for rogues who want to use stealth to their advantage. It allows you to hide in dim light or darkness, making it easier to position yourself for a surprise attack. It also makes it harder for enemies to detect you, which can help you remain hidden and undetected for longer periods of time.

Crossbow Expert

This feat is especially useful for rogues who use a hand crossbow as their primary weapon. It allows you to make a bonus attack with the hand crossbow as a bonus action, which can be used to trigger sneak attack again in the same turn.

Make the Rogue that is right for YOU

Overall, this guide is just the tip of the iceberg in enhancing your rogue’s sneak attack abilities. Depending on your playstyle and the specific campaign you’re playing in, you may find some of these tips more useful than others. The key is to tailor the multiple options using sourcebooks like The Player’s Handbook, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide or Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything to create the deadly Assassin that’s right for you! So go forth, adventurers, and use your sneak attack to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies!

What tips or advice do you have for using Sneak Attack? What other topics would you like to see Nerd Night News cover? Let us know in the comments below!

And while you’re here, check out some of our other awesome Nerd article. LIKE THIS ONE! Unseen Servant: How To enhance Roleplay in D&D5e.

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