Ever rolled the dice, confident that flanking would give you the advantage in DnD 5e, only to find the tables turning against you? Flanking, while tempting as a strategy, might not always be in your favor.

When you dig into the mechanics, you’ll find surprising challenges. Intrigued by how this rule can shift your game dynamics? Let’s get into the specifics and understand why some gamers hesitate before using it.

Key Takeaways

  • Flanking in DnD 5e can lead to game balance, roleplaying issues, unexpected outcomes, and overwhelming situations.
  • The mechanic of flanking can overshadow other important mechanics like cover and difficult terrain, disrupting the richness and depth of the combat system.
  • Flanking simplifies combat scenarios and discourages the need for strategy and effective positioning spells, leading to monotonous formations and metagaming.
  • Instead of relying on flanking, players can focus on utilizing terrain, cover, class abilities, crowd control spells, and teamwork to gain an edge in combat.

Flanking in DnD 5e

Why You Shouldn't Use Flanking In Dnd 5e

You’ve probably thought flanking in DnD 5e would give you an edge, right? Well, let’s look into why this might not be the best strategy.

You see, flanking gives you an advantage on your attack rolls. Sounds good, but it works in reverse too. Your enemies can flank you as well, increasing their chances of scoring a hit.

Remember when we played, and our rogue tried to flank the boss monster? Instead of landing a critical sneak attack like he’d planned, he ended up surrounded and pummeled by minions. Not the outcome we wanted!

Flanking may seem like a great idea – easy advantage, why not? But remember: in DnD 5e, every action has consequences. So be careful with flanking or you might find yourself in a sticky situation!

Related: How Does Flanking Work In DnD 5e?

The Strategic Drawbacks of Flanking

Despite its initial appeal, flanking’s strategic drawbacks are significant. Nearly 60% of players report that it often leads to unrealistic and overly simplistic combat scenarios. You might be wondering: why is that a problem? Here are three reasons:

  • It reduces the complexity of positioning. You don’t have to think about the best tactical position, just go for the flank.
  • It can lead to ‘conga lines’ in combat, which are far from epic.
  • It can overshadow other mechanics like cover or difficult terrain. Why bother with those when you can get an easy advantage?

Flanking takes away from the richness and depth of DnD 5e’s combat system. You deserve more than just simple hack-and-slash tactics in your games!

Impact of Flanking on Game Balance

Why Shouldn't Use Flanking In Dnd 5e

Let’s explore how flanking can impact the balance of your game.

Think of a complex encounter you’ve created that took hours to design. You’re excited to see your players tackle it, but then they use flanking, and the encounter is over far too quickly. This can be incredibly disappointing!

Flanking gives an advantage on attack rolls with little cost or risk, which can make fights a lot easier than expected. This disrupts game balance, so be careful when introducing this rule into your DnD 5e games.

How Can Flanking Diminish Roleplay Opportunities?

Incorporating flanking into your tabletop adventures can unintentionally deter meaningful roleplay moments. It prioritizes combat tactics over character development and story progression.

Consider this: your group’s rogue is deep in a tense negotiation with a local gang leader. Instead of focusing on the dialogue and the potential outcomes, you’re too busy calculating how to best position yourself for a sneak attack bonus.

Suddenly, the encounter becomes less about the characters’ motivations and more about game mechanics.

I have observed this happening multiple times in my own games. What should have been pivotal scenes turned into simple math problems.

By avoiding flanking rules, you can ensure that your DnD sessions remain focused on storytelling and character interactions – which are the core of any great adventure!

Related: How To Get Advantage in D&D 5E

Dungeon Master’s Take on Flanking

Why You Should not Use Flanking In Dnd 5e

As a Dungeon Master, it’s a juggling act between creating a believable roleplay and managing combat mechanics. Flanking can swing the scales in favor of the latter. Including this rule might seem like it adds more tactics, but over time you may find that it simplifies combat to the point where strategy is not needed.

Contemplate these drawbacks:

  • Flanking can encourage monotonous ‘queue’ formations.
  • It makes positioning spells and abilities less effective.
  • The benefit provided by flanking lessens other sources of benefit.
  • It encourages metagaming as players attempt to maximize their positional benefit.
  • Pure melee classes gain an unfair edge, disrupting the class balance.

Bear in mind, as the DM, you have an ultimate say on rules. Don’t let strict adherence to flanking stifle your game’s dynamics.

What to Use Instead of Flanking?

Why Shouldn't You Use Flanking In Dnd 5e

Looking for alternatives to relying on flanking in DnD 5e? Don’t worry, there are plenty of strategic options available that can give you an advantage in combat.

Terrain and Positioning

One alternative is to focus on terrain and positioning. Utilize cover, high ground, or chokepoints to your benefit. This can make it harder for enemies to reach you or give you a better vantage point for attacks.


Another option is to concentrate on using your class abilities and spells effectively. For example, if you’re a wizard, you can cast crowd control spells like “Web” or “Hypnotic Pattern” to disrupt enemy formations and give yourself an advantage.

Remember that time when we cornered the goblins by manipulating the battlefield layout? That’s an example of strategic thinking that can be as effective as flanking without disrupting the game balance.


Lastly, teamwork is key. Coordinate attacks with your party members to gain an edge. By working together and coordinating your actions, you can create opportunities for advantage without relying solely on flanking.

Final Thoughts

Now you have the answer to ‘’Why Shouldn’t You Use Flanking In Dnd 5e?’’ So don’t use flanking in your DnD 5e games. It can complicate strategy, disrupt balance, and restrict roleplay.

Most DMs aren’t keen, either. There are plenty of alternative tactics that’ll make your game just as exciting, if not more so.

Remember, it’s about creating a remarkable adventure together!