Flanking 5e in DnD 5e – Guidance

Flanking in DnD 5e – Guidance: The Advantages and disadvantages of Positioning

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Combat in DnD 5e must be more tactical, according to a few players and DMs. These players may be engaged in DnD’s extra flanking rule, which highlights adjusting.

This guide will demonstrate the dynamics of this optional rule, the benefits as well as drawbacks of using it, and how you can best use it to your benefit as a DM or a player.

What is flanking 5e?

Flanking is just an optional rule in DnD 5e that reflects the combat benefits given when you and your allied forces attack an enemy from different directions.

In a real scenario, it would mean your opposing team would be off-balance, disturbed, and not able to defend themselves appropriately, a circumstance that could only worsen as the fight advanced.

Of course, it’s challenging to mechanically represents distraction or being off and in DnD, so 5e gives flanking players an advantage.

Earlier installments, such as 3.5, gave flanking players a +2 bonus to strike rolls. Numerous of these types of causal bonuses, but even so, have been modified by the easier and quicker-to-track advantage/disadvantage system.

There are certain restrictions to how flanking works in 5e, in addition to who can benefit from it. While the basic rules are missing information on this extra rule, it can be found on page 251 of a Dungeon Master’s Guide. Even though flanking can be perplexing in some circumstances, we’ll quote the regulations here.

Flanking 5e Essentials:

The Dungeon Master’s Guide has the following to say about flanking 5e:

“If you play minis commonly, flanking offers combatants a simple method of gaining an advantage on attack rolls against a common enemy.”

A monster cannot flank an opponent it can not see. A monster cannot flank while deactivating. A Large or larger creature is flanking if at least one corner or hex of its space complies.

When a creature, as well as at least one of its allies, is relatively close to and on opposite ends of an enemy’s space, they flank that opponent, each of them has a benefit on attack rolls it against the enemy.”


These rules have several significant implications. Flanking works only if you use fight maps to keep a record of the enemy’s role. While theater-of-the-mind combat is a fun method for playing DnD, it isn’t relevant to this rule.

This is most probably due to the convenience with which conflicts about who is and is not flanking 5e might arise.

You can’t flank if you can’t say your opposing player or incapacitate. This means you must engage in combat, but you do not need to throw punches or carry a weapon an axe to do so! This means that companions, who aren’t able to attack, can create a flanking situation.

Relevantly, flanking works just when creatures are near an enemy. Adjacent creatures are within five feet of one another and take up squares (or hexes) on a battle chart that share a border. Be aware that this is not the same as melee range, as some firearms and abilities raise melee range.

A soldier with a spear can strike a goblin from a ten-foot distance foot, but they will not benefit from flanking 5e unless those who move closer.

Now that we have protected the basic principle, let’s take a closer look at how flanking tends to work on square and hex grids.

Hexes flanking 5e:

The Dungeon Master’s Guide explains flanking on hexes as follows:

Count through one creature towards its ally and all around the enemy on hexes. When there are two hexes in front of a Medium as well as a smaller creature, the flank of the allied force.

When four hexes are separating them from a Huge creature, the allies flank. They should have 5 hexes separating them from a Huge creature. They must have at least 6 hexes in between them and a Gargantuan monster.

The four hexes between 2 different creatures indicate that a large creature is surrounded by two Medium creatures. It’s important to note that flanking can support various creatures if implemented right.

A third ally, neighboring to one of the first two and the Huge creature being surrounded, would gain from flanking as well. There would be sufficient hexes in between them and the opposing ally, but you’d have to count some other way.

According to the rules as published, a 3rd ally who’d been adjacent to the creature becoming encircled but just not adjoining to any of the initial two allies just wouldn’t benefit from flanking. In that scenario, there would be no more than one, not four, hexes among allies.

On a Square Power system, Flanking:

Regularly spaced flanking is comparable to hex flanking, however, it is simpler to comprehend. Flanking creatures must merely be, on opposite sides or edges of the area covered by the flanked creature.

Trace an invisible line between both the origins of the creatures’ spaces to determine regardless of whether two creatures flank an opponent on a grid. The enemy is flanking if indeed the line travels through opposite sides or edges of the enemy’s space.

The Large orc is effectively flanked by all these two knights.

These 2 different knights are flanking effectively.

These knights, however, are not flanking because they are not located on opposite sides as well as corners of the orc.

Flanking Disputes:

Flanking is commonly considered a contested optional principle, so it’s always a good idea to double-check with your DM before making the assumption it’s in impact. Many people dislike the flanking rule because it wants to encourage a ridiculous game experience or because they assume it is overtaken.

Conga Line flanking 5e:

Some players are extremely worried that implementing alongside a pair will result in ‘conga lines’ of enemies and players.

Instead of fighting logically, a clump of soldiers and monsters have almost all surrounded to take advantage of flanking. Aside from the irrationality of having battle interactions dissolve into lines of interchanging enemies and allies, numerous players and DMs are involved and this type of method makes fighting unconvincing and devalues adjusting in approval of a new conceptual every reward you can get.

I don’t believe the conga boundary is an issue, although that can and has occurred.

This form of combat could only occur with the DM’s full engagement in rounding up the opponents into dropping into this pattern.


There are multiple ways to subscribe to flanking rules without resorting to conga-line antics. Not all opponents, for example, may be aware or cultural enough just to keep pursuing flanking positions.

Moreover, many enemy soldiers, both players, and enemies, will be primarily medium-range harm dealers and even magic users who cannot endure melee combat. These actors will not gain from flanking, and this type of situation also might make it harder for them to get such a clean shot. Only in a pure close combat martial combat scene does a conga line make sense.

Even though, matching up like this comes with its own set of consequences. A sensible group of enemies may understand that they can simply join forces against a strong opponent for one session, knocking back them and making the whole fight much simpler for their edge.

In the previous section, the 4 goblins can use a few ability attacks to double flank this same soldier here on right in a single round. The additional benefit is nice, but still, nothing beats knocking out an opposing player.

The conga line is not the most advantageous RAW method for engaging in battle, and as you’ll discover later, there are countless ways to make flanking a gang of enemies tricky or impossible. It’s a silly concept, but there’s no reason why it cannot avoid in actual gameplay.

Intense Flanking:

Another major worry with flanking is the fact that it offers a fairly affordable way to gain a benefit on attacks. With exception of Greater Invisibility, which gives an advantage against so many but not all creatures for 1 minute and needs a 4th level spell slot, flanking necessitates always an ally and nothing else.

This concept has merit, but it’s critical to remember that flanking isn’t invincible. A great flank could only last one roll before the enemy simply moves away from its difficult state, and Bigger Invisibility provides numerous other advantages. It’s much more difficult, for example, to attack hidden creatures with spell casters.

Advantages of flanking 5e:

Flanking is also beneficial to low-level NPCs. While flanking might be a cheap way for players to gain an advantage, it is regularly the only choice offered to the town guard. Flanking is thus one of the very few strategic options available to NPCs who lack spells or special abilities.

DMs should consider adding an using it rule that provides flanking animals a +2 bonus to their strike roll rather than an advantage, as in DnD 3.5.

This is to offer some benefit for flanking, but it’s not as strong as the advantage, which also can provide a +3 or +4 reward on average, depending on how high a roll is needed.

This, even so, overlooks the fact that the benefit does not stack. Users cannot get a “double favorable position” if they have an advantage on a roll. There is a little additional benefit to flanking an enemy even while gaining a benefit in another way.

Moreover, DnD 5e’s method to attack rolls implies that a +2 benefit that can stack with some other source of benefit is far more useful and strong than a competitive edge alone.

“Bounded accuracy” employ in DnD 5e. The show’s design attempts to avoid exceptionally high ACs as well as attack bonus payments. The non-stacking existence of benefits is extremely essential to the game’s planned balance. As it inhibits situations from becoming created where a player does have an exceptionally high chance of hitting.

Adding rules is fine, and yet allowing flanking to provide a small flat bonus helps make it more strong, not less. Of course, if you intend to boost the effectiveness of flanking, go for it.

How to Effectively Use Flanking:

Basic Method:

In a battle between two groups, every group will start to flank the other while ignoring being flanking 5e This implies that group members aware of flanking would be cautious not to overstretch themselves. That might mean becoming lonely, making you easy targets for enemy flanking movements or medium-range attackers that now have a clear shot at you.

Ranged actors can also profit from flanking in relatively small encounters. Even though ranged strikes from within five feet of your goal have a drawback, this compensates by the advantage of flanking. Understand using it when your archer personality is involved in melee combat.

Flanking Has Disadvantages:

Flanking is not always a good idea. Consider the above party of 2 different archers as well as two soldiers confronting four orcs in a corridor.

The orcs show up to have left themselves exposed to encircle by the troops. They leave their softer archers unprotected if those try to counterattack the lead orc. In an attempt to drive him out of the fight before actually trying to deal with other enemies.

As you’ll see, the soldiers will also most certainly kill the two orcs on the right. But only at the expense of trying to knock out the archers. Even when the party wins this fight, they will start taking more harm than necessary. In the worst case, the troops encircle after the archers remove.

You can see that you should take precautions once attempting to flank your opposition. In some situations, you are at risk of overburdening yourself and uncovering your softer allies.

How to Stop flanking 5e:

The easiest way to avoid becoming flanked is really to keep enemies from advancing from behind you.

No orcs can reach a contrary square from any of the soldiers. Because of their half-circle creation (a complete circle also works). As an outcome, the soldiers are capable of denying their opponents flanking benefits. Which is an essential skill when they are outnumbering (just think more orcs off-screen).

Popular flanking 5e Questions in DnD 5e

Does flanking award 5e surprise attack?

If you gain from flanking, you earn a benefit allowing you to initiate the Rogue’s sneak attack function. As long as you employ a battle weapon, ranged strikes do not advantage over flanking.

If you’re employing a ranged weapon. Keep in mind that if an ally who’s not deactivating within 5 feet of your opponent. You can still employ the sneak strike feature as long as you do not have any disadvantages.

Does prone result in flanking?

Even if your opposing player is prone, you can still flank them. However, so because the prone situation grants added benefit on all melee attacks within 5 feet. Your melee strikes will be already at a benefit. The benefit does not pile.

Can 5e be flanking by spells?

In 5e, spells that require an attack roll can profit from flanking. Spells that do not define a melee attack roll, on the other hand, are considered range magical attacks. And as medium-range threats against adjoining targets, suffer a  disadvantage.

This indicates that varied spell threats that benefit from flanking receive a regular roll. Because both advantage and disadvantage withdraw out, whereas close combat spell attacks roll with advantage.

Is Spiritual Weapon flanking in 5e?

The Cleric spell Spiritual Weapon summons a floating gun. So because the weapon isn’t an ally, its appearance near an opponent would never result in flanking.

Even so, if you are flanking an opponent, the close combat spell attack roll you start making to hit the opponent with the floating gun has the advantage. Even though the weapon is in a separate place around the enemy from where you are.

Is it appropriate to use Flanking?

I think flanking is a superb DnD 5e rule. It gives the team more strategic advantages and assists DMs in constructing combat tactics for opponents. Who lack magical spells as well as mystical abilities.

While going to attempt flanking is often not a good idea. The rule’s existence can result in more strategic gameplay and good use of your party’s skills.

This simple method of gaining a competitive advantage can have far-reaching consequences for how you operate combat. As well as the way player choices, as well as movement, can form the outcome or failure of encounters.

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