Reading the Shield Master feat:

If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield.

So I can shove as a bonus action.

Now normally shove takes part of an attack:

Using the Attack action, you can make a special melee attack to shove a creature, either to knock it prone or push it away from you. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them.

Am I right in thinking that these are the same; so the choice is if I prefer to spend part of an attack vs using a bonus action? Mechanically is there a difference?

By extension could I say that anyone with lots of bonus action options probably won't want Shield Master?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little confused about what you're asking here. Are you concerned with the difference between a bonus action and an action? Or are you looking for some kind of cost-benefit analysis for the shield master feat? \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adam neither really, just to see if I am missing anything. Is this feat (Ignoring the other bits of it) just to move shove from one type of action to another? Or is there some obvious benefit of this that I am missing \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 14:33
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think that the issue is with the action economy and whether the opportunity cost of the feat is worth it. You are aware that this does not take away your ability to use Shove as part of your Attack, correct? It just gives you the additional option of using the Bonus Action. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth yes, I am just going through some guides that strongly recommend Shield Master and I can't see the appeal of moving shove to a bonus action given how many other bonus actions it is competing with, but losing a single hit from a multi-attack I can live with as damage is not my priority. I felt that I had to be missing something, but it seems not. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 14:40
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri the guides are trying to help you create the most efficient character possible. The best condition you can impose on an enemy is dead \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


The action cost is different, but the effect is the same

Shield Master lets you shove without sacrificing an attack

Normally, when a character takes the Attack action, they can replace any of the attacks they get with a Shove action. Shoving in this way involves the sacrifice of one attack.

With Shield Master, the character need not sacrifice any of their attacks when they take an Attack action. Instead, they can shove using a bonus action.

They are very different things. A character who gets only one attack as part of an Attack action must give up all their attacks to shove someone. That is a significant sacrifice. Getting the same action as a bonus action means that one need not make that sacrifice. Which is a distinct advantage if that is something that the character is doing on a regular basis.

Effects of the shove are the same

Regardless of the actions used to take it, the character is still taking the Shove action. As such, the effects of the Shove are exactly the same.

Also, note that having Shield Master does not prevent you from taking the normal shove action (replacing one of your attacks) it just gives you and additional option. You could even do both in the same turn if you wanted (including shoving even before you attack).

Bonus actions are valuable

If you are playing a character that makes heavy use of their bonus actions for things other than Shield Master, then this part of Shield Master is probably not going to be the most useful to you. You only get one bonus action per turn and it is good to spend it wisely. However, not all characters do have a bonus action ability that they use commonly. In this case, if one wants to shove, this allows that character to put that bonus action to good use. In the end it all comes down to the specific character build you have/want to have.


They are the same kind of Shove

As I read this, Shield Master specifies that you can use your bonus action to "shove" a creature. Since the other quote you provide shows the "shove" Action defined, this feat does indeed seem to be simply providing a way to perform this same Action but as a bonus action instead.

The "with your shield" part of the Shield Master text is just a way of justifying why this feat allows this from a narrative perspective.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your language speaks to me the most out of all these answers (I like direct answers without all the other explanation) but I felt like I had to accept the most popular and understand that the additional information will be more use to people reading this in the future. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 11:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Thanks, although I don't take offense at which answer got the green tick; I myself sometimes agonise over which answer to accept for questions I've asked in the past. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jeremy Crawford confirms this as the intent here: "The first benefit of the Shield Master feat relies on the shove rule (PH, 195), which lets you knock a creature prone or push it away." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 22:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .