Dual wielder feat 5e against Rage 5e or Two Handed weapon.
So what is Dual wielder 5e and is it anyway better than dnd 5e rage? The 5e feat of Dual-wielding two one-handed weapons is one of the most widely-used fighting techniques in D&D 5e. And how? Wouldn’t it be? Severing two swords or setting down the hammer with two war hammers looks great. After all, attending cool in combat is how you win 5e Dungeons and Dragons.
The dual-wielding 5e feat is awesome in tradition, especially for newer players who are much more prone to build a 5e feat of dual-wielding character. They don’t have as much involvement with the system. They usually don’t fully appreciate the downsides and constraints that come with obtaining a dual wielder.
Origin: Player’s Handbook
You usually master fighting with two weapons, getting the following advantages:
- You will gain a +1 bonus to AC while wielding a separate melee weapon in every hand.
- You may use two-weapon Fighting, yet when the one-handed melee weapons you continue wielding are not light.
- You may draw or stow two one-handed weapons. It is when you will normally remove or hold just one.
Is Dual Wielding feat 5e Worthwhile compared to Rage 5e?
Here is the crux of the issue. Is it worthwhile to use two light weapons like shortswords 5e rather than a two-handed greatsword or even a longsword and shield combination? It is entirely to you, and how much stock you place into character optimization and your intentions for your character build.
The dual-wielding 5e does have a few corners in the game. The most comprehensive place being melee fighters before they earn their Extra Attack class feature at level 5.
Advanced Game Melee Combatants
Before gaining 5e Extra Attack, these characters commonly have only a single Weapon Attack with their operation. They also generally do not have many features, spells, or additional things to use as a bonus action. Suppose they have an unutilized bonus action. They are not using their action economy for its genuine potential.
Dual-wielding 5e is one way for these frontline melee belligerents to get both a second attack on their turn and grant them a general bonus action in combat. A single hit will not deal as much damage as a greatsword 5e. However, a 5e dual wielder feat gets two tries to hit their target on their turn rather than just one.
Dnd 5e Two-Weapon Fighting limits the weapon selections you have. By participating in this fighting style, you completely miss out on +2 AC by opting not to use a 5e shield. The previous game is by far the most relaxed time to lose a character. So you might be at a huge risk by forgoing that AC to dual-wielding feat 5e. Be wise while choosing.
Barbarian Rage GIF from Barbarian GIFs
Priority in 5e dnd
If damage yield is your top priority, you may take a potential path for the early game.
The dual-wielding feat looks cool and is fun in terms of its flavor. The mechanics of it can be a bit rough in custom and sub-optimal. Still, it’s not damaging to your party to play a dual wielder instead of a more optimal choice, such as a great weapon fighter 5e or a sword and board fighter.
All in all, Two-Weapon Fighting 5e isn’t all that complex in D&D. There’s absolutely room for improvement, as it does feel a trifle clunky. Still, it’s extremely convenient for any character to use, and it is moderately clear-cut in terms of its mechanics.
You need to make sure you’re wielding two 5e one-handed weapons with the light part unless you have the Dual Wielder feat. Suppose you make an Attack action with your main hand weapon. You can create one with your offhand as a bonus. However, you do not include your 5e ability score modifier in the attack’s damage unless you have the 5e Two-Weapon Fighting Style.
Remember that and get to hacking, bashing & stabbing your plan through hoards of foes at top acceleration!
5e Dual Wielder Feat & Two-Weapon Fighting Style, The Great Weapon Fighting Style, Dueling Style, & Rage 5e
1. Rage 5e bonus adds two weapons fighting 5e bonus action attack so long as the attack is done using Strength. Rage catches a bonus action to activate, so no benefit from the first round of combat.
2. You linked the names of the great weapon master feat 5e and great weapon fighting style. These are two distinct game features though similar. You are talking about the fighting style.
3. 5e two-weapon Fighting
Suppose you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re HOLDING in one hand. You can use a bonus action to shoot with a different light melee weapon you’re HOLDING on the other hand. You do not add your ability modifier to the loss of the bonus attack unless that modifier is absent.
Suppose the weapon has the thrown property, you may throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.”.
It would be best if you held two weapons in dnd 5e.
4. You may swap weapons at the same time. Still, as your not complying with the two-weapon fighting 5e rules of holding two weapons at the same time while attacking, you wouldn’t gain the ability to use your bonus action to attack using that feature.
You might be stacking a fighting style and feats whose emphasize requirements and following advantages are mutually exclusive.
Polearm master 5e solves a lot of problems. It supports using the dueling fighting style with a spear to compete for two weapons fighting automatically while also allowing a shield. Also, potential benefits from Rage. Decreases the first bonus action list by providing a possible return opportunity attack when creatures enter your reach.
Rage 5e dnd
In combat, you may fight with primal savagery. Suppose you get Your Turn. You can start a rage as a Bonus Action.
While raging, you will get the following advantages if you are not wearing any heavy armor:
• You own advantage on Strength checks along with Strength Saving Throws.
• Suppose you perform a melee weapon attack using Strength. You will gain a +2 bonus to the 5e damage roll. That bonus progress as you level.
• You possess Immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, along with any slashing damage.
Suppose you can cast spells. You can’t throw them or concentrate on them while raging.
Your 5e Rage spell lasts for 1 minute. It stops early if you are knocked Unconscious. Or else suppose your turn ends and you haven’t hit a hostile creature since your latest turn or taken injury since then. You can also finish your Rage on Your Turn as a Bonus Action.
Suppose you have raged the maximum number of times for your Barbarian 5e level. In that case, you must achieve a 5e Long Rest ere you can rage again in 5e dnd. You can rage 2 times at 1st level, followed by 3 at 3rd. Again you can rage 4 at 6th, 5 at 12th, and 6 at 17th. That is all about Rage 5e dnd spell.
When is an ASI better than the 5e Dual Wielder feat?
Ability Score Improvements are almost always better for Dual Wield 5e feat.
On Level 4, you could boost your attack stat from 16 to 18 or take the Dual Wielder 5e feat. You own the Two-Weapon Fighting style while battling against AC 10, 14, and Criticals are also covered in the final DPR.
- Damage 2 x (1d6+3) = 13
- AC Hit chance 80%, DPR
- AC Hit chance 60%, DPR
- AC Hit chance 40%, DPR
- Damage 2 x (1d6+4) = 15
- AC Hit chance 85%, DPR
- AC Hit chance 65%, DPR
- AC Hit chance 45%, DPR
Dual Wielder 5e feat:
- Damage 2 x (1d8+3) = 15
- AC Hit chance 80%, DPR
- AC Hit chance 60%, DPR
- AC Hit chance 40%, DPR
You may look at it that way, the loss is the same, as on medium 1d6+4 = 1d8+3, but you have a higher hit chance after the ASI.
Dual Wielder 5e feat grants you +1 AC, but if you are Dex primary, an ASI provides you the same +1 save, +1 skills, +1 action.
If you are Str primary, the ASI is very less helpful in this respect. You could take 5e Great Weapon Fighting for higher DPR. The 5e feat of Dual Wielder allows you to draw two weapons externally without sacrificing any action. That may be necessary for cities. However, you may just run around with one of your weapons previously described in the wastelands and dungeons.
You may use the Dual Wielder 5e feat if the only magic weapon you own is unusable without Dual Wielder as it’s not light.
Again, +1 to attack and harm from a magic weapon. Additionally, the improved die size is enough in itself. Still, it is the highest advantage if you examine all the monsters resistant or safe to mundane weapons.
When shall you pick Dual wielder feat 5e vs. two-handed weapon & Rage in 5e dnd spells?
You should only pick 5e Dual Wielder before 5e two-handed weapon & Rage 5e in dnd spells only if:
- The magic weapon you own is unusable without Dual Wielder
- you can not have at least one of your weapons in your hand when you anticipate a conflict.
- you may not pick an ASI because
- you are a Variant Human on 1st level
- you have reached 20 in your attack stat already.
You will get a bonus to your 5e Armor Class with a 5e Dual Wielder feat so long as you wield two one-handed weapons. That is great; judging martial characters are frequently in the thick of combat. Since your one hand is too involved to bother holding a shield, all bit of protection aids.
Next, the Dual Wielder 5e feat ( Compared to two-handed weapon & 5e Rage) in dnd 5e lifts the restriction on only allowing you to use weapons with the Light property. However, your weapons still need to be one-handed or have the Versatile property. Weapons like the longsword 5e, battleaxes, or spear, amongst many others. Therefore, there are no dual-wielding great axes or glaive/ Rage 5e.
And ultimately, the feat permits you to draw or stow two weapons instead of one at a time. Commands as Written, you get one complimentary Action per round in your Dungeon & Dragons game. Do not worry if you booted these in the PHB. There was never a great explanation available in the book.
However, on page of PHB and in the conflict section on DnD Beyond, you may only draw or wrap one weapon at a time as your Free Action.
Finally, the Dual Wielder feat 5e lifts this limitation in the rules by assigning your draw/stow two.
Two Weapon Fighting Dual Wielding In DnD 5E Explained
Everything around you is a blurred vision of blood, an auditory assault of clashing metal, and hearts beating hard against a mutual threat of fatality. Your tired blood runs fast, as you slash a bulwark of a bandit with your short sword; his eyes are full of rage and an unmistakable will to live. That will, however, might be at your expense. Unless… your motion is swift and sure, as you unleash your own thirst for life with your second short sword. Had you not been wielding a weapon in both hands, the bandit wouldnt have fallen to his knees before having a chance to attack you again.
Fighting with two weapons is something any character in 5E can do, from Fighters to Wizards and every in between. The rules for doing this are pretty straightforward:
- Taking the attackaction whilst wielding a light weapon in each hand, you can make an additional attack with your offhand weapon as a bonus action. Be sure to check the weapons table in the Players Handbook (PHB, pg) or take a look at the table below, to see which weapons classify as light.
- Do not add the modifier youre making the attack roll with, to damage from the offhand weapon attack. For example, at 1st level with a Strength of +3, you could make two attacks with a pair of short swords, the mainhand for 1d6+3 and the offhand one for just 1d6 damage.
- If your weapon has the thrown property, you can choose to throw it instead of making a melee attack.
Weapons Eligible for TWF
Weve compiled the light weapons list ready for you to wield, and arranged it from most to least damage possible. If you want to take your TWF to the next level, continue reading below.
How To Pump Up The TWF Damage
Boost your TWF effectiveness with the following fighting style and feat respectively:
- Two Weapon Fighting This fighting style (also commonly referred to TWF) allows you to add your ability modifier to the damage of your offhand attack, increasing your damage by up to +5! Only Fighters and Rangers get this style by default, but anyone with a martial weapon proficiency can get it through the Fighting Initiate feat.
- Dual Wielder A feat can be a steep cost in 5E, but when it enhances your chosen playstyle, its often worth it. The Dual Wielderfeat gives players several benefits: This feat allows your character to draw two weapons at once, whereas normal object interaction rules only allow one weapon a turn otherwise. Player characters are granted a +1 to your AC whilst wielding two weapons to compensate for not wearing a shield. Additionally, you no longer need to use light weapons to qualify for two weapon fighting. This last point might not seem like much, but besides letting you move up to 1d8 damage weapons (like a longsword or rapier), it also makes it much more likely that you can incorporate magic weapons you find into your character.
The Good About Dual Wielding
The huge benefit of two weapon fighting is obvious: you get to deal the bad guys damage (at least) twice in one turn with your favorite light weapons. This is great for abilities that trigger each time you hit (like Rage damage, Divine Smite, etc.), or if you have an important ability that requires you hit (like Sneak Attack). There’s an added benefit when you’re fighting enemy spellcasters, more hits means the other guy has to do more constitution saving throws to maintain concentration!
The Bad About Dual Wielding
The biggest drawbacks of TWF for martial characters are having to give up two very helpful things: a hefty +2AC from wearing a shield, and the potential to have a bigger damage die with non-light weapons. Additionally, certain feat combos the aforementioned non-light weapons offer, such as Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master, become unavailable when you sacrifice using them.
Should You Choose TWF?
Melee characters who forego a shield, get to pick a weapon from the bigger damage dealers in an armory. Their weapons typically tend to have damage dies in the range of d10 d12s/2d6. However, not all classes get proficiency to use these big hitters, or instead focus on Dexterity. Even if you do get proficiency, you may have abilities that work better with TWF, or you may simply prefer your PC using two weapons. Whether dual wielding is for you, largely depends on your character.
In general, Dex-based characters will get the most out of two weapon fighting, as they use Finesse weapons and these have a smaller damage die than their Strength-based counterparts. The highest damage finesse weapon, a rapier, is only a d8: this means the trade off to use d6 (or even d4) light weapons is very minimal, and can actually mean an increase in damage overall from the bonus action attack. On the other hand, Strength based characters have access to harder hitting weapons, which can potentially combine with feats to hit even harder (such as Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master). This makes it a more difficult choice, if all you’re using to decide is the damage potential.
Who Is Dual Wielding Best For?
- Rogues Getting an additional chance to trigger your Sneak Attack can go a long way to increasing your damage over time, the extra d4 or d6 of damage doesn’t hurt either! This is particularly potent for the Swashbuckler subclass, as it lets you disengage from multiple enemies in a turn.
- Fighters The extra damage with the fighting style means that you’ll be very competitive damage wise, even without investing in the feat well into the end of Tier 2.
- Paladins Now this might not go with some people’s images of Paladins, but the more chances to hit, the more chances to use Divine Smite! This is especially good when you hit level 11 and add a 1d8 of radiant damage to every hit. It’s worth mentioning here that Paladins get access to the 1st level spell Divine Favor, which will add 1d4 radiant damage to each hit, regardless who they attack.
- Barbarians Rage damage is applied to every hit, which means that you can get another dose of it with your shiny new bonus action attack! This is best for certain subclasses, like the Ancestral Guardian, that trigger their abilities when they attack or hit a target as you’re able to affect more enemies each turn.
Who Is Dual Wielding Least Useful For?
- Rangers you would think two weapon wielding would be perfect for a class that gets the fighting style by default, but its worth noting Rangers wielding two weapons, might often end up missing one of their iconic spellsHunters Markas it competes for their bonus action. As players, this is something to ponder when thinking of the action economy of your character.
- Monks this class already gets a bonus action attack from their Martial Arts feature, making the option to dual wield very unappealing to them.
Being a hero already requires characters to have good hand-eye coordination, but if your own PC has a knack for juggling, a proclivity for going extra on their attacks, or maybe have a tendency to try using their shield as a weapon, you might want to consider giving them a second weapon for their offhand. After all, has anyone ever filed a guild complaint their companions were killing the enemy way too fast, or looking too cool whilst doing it?
Maybe you prefer mixing a pinch of magic with your melee, if so, check out the ultimate Cleric spells for all your holy needs. For more Dungeons & Dragons resources, sign up for the best free adventuring newsletter, your increasingly light coin purse can buy!
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Are you looking to make a dual wielding character for your next Dungeons & Dragons 5e game?
There seems to be a bit of confusion on how to dual wield. So, lets go over the mechanics, the usable weapons, and whether dual wielding in 5e is any good or not.
- 5es Dual Wielding Rules
- Dual Wieldable Weapons
- Is Dual Wielding Good?
- Dual Wielding FAQs
Lets get started.
How Does Dual Wielding Work in 5e?
First off, lets clear up some of the mud right away; while its often referred to as "dual-wielding" the proper term is actually Two-Weapon Fighting. This distinction is important because of the Dual Wielder feat that well get into a bit later.
But, since its pretty colloquially accepted, Im still gonna call it dual wielding. Just keep that in mind.
Now then, the rules for dual wielding in 5e are pretty straight forward.
So, what does this mean?
Basically, any character can dual wield in 5e so long as they use two weapons with the Light property.
Whenever you use the Attack action you can make an additional attack with your off-hand weapon as a bonus action. You still add your Attack Modifier to the attempt. But, the catch is you dont add your Damage Modifier to the second attack should you score a hit. That is, unless you have a negative modifier.
Can You Dual Wield Without Two-Weapon Fighting?
Heres where some of the confusion comes in.
Firstly; yes, you can dual wield without the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style. But, Im gonna need to break this down.
Some classes get a feature called Fighting Style. And, one of the options you can choose is called Two-Weapon Fighting. Which isnt at all confusing when you also have a section in the PHB on combat in 5e called Two-Weapon Fighting.
Anyway, the feature is different from the general rule.
All it does is let you add your Damage Modifier to the off-hand attack. So, its a slight buff to your dual wielding character.
So, to answer the question in full; yes, you can engage in two-weapon gighting without the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style option.
The Dual Wielder Feat
Now, the complicate things even further, let me introduce you to Dual Wielder.
From page 72 of the PHB:
Lets unpack this.
First off, you get a bonus to your Armor Class with this feat so long as youre wielding two one-handed weapons. Which is nice considering martial characters are often in the thick of combat. And, since your one hand is too occupied to bother holding a shield, every bit of protection helps.
Next, Dual Wielder lifts the restriction on only allowing you to use weapons with the Light property. But, your weapons still need to be one-handed or have the Versatile property. Weapons like the longsword, battleaxe, or spear among many others. So, no dual wielding greataxes or glaives
As cool as that would be.
And lastly, the feat lets you draw or stow two weapons instead of one at a time. Rules as Written, you get one Free Action per turn. Dont worry if you missed this in the PHB. Itsnot really explained well at all.
But, on page of the PHB and in the combat section on DnD Beyond, you can only draw or sheathe one weapon at a time as your Free Action.
So, Dual Wielder lifts this restriction in the rules by letting your draw/stow two.
Or, more likely, this wont matter and your table ignores this rule because it sucks and isnt fun.
What Weapons Can You Dual Wield in DnD?
You can dual wield any weapon that has the Light property. The trick is that both weapons need to have this property.
Theres a common misconception (or choice to ignore the rules as written which is fair) that only your off-hand weapon needs to have the Light
So, heres the list of weapons in the PHB you can dual wield:
- Light Hammer
- Crossbow, hand*
So, if you want a dual wielding character, you need to use two of these listed weapons.
*But, heres the exception. While, yes, you can dual wield hand crossbows you can only attack with each one once when you use an action or bonus action. The Loading weapon property puts this restriction on them.
Well, unless you take the Crossbow Expert feat. But, thats a different thing altogether.
Is Dual Wielding Good in 5e?
Well, that depends on who you ask.
Dual wielding in DnD 5e is sub-optimal. But, that doesnt mean its bad.
For one, the mechanics arent in your favor.
Since dual wielding uses up your bonus action to make that second attack, that means your characters action economy becomes limited if thats all you want to do.
So, classes like the Cleric or Druid are flat-out bad choices to fight using two weapons. They have loads of spells that use their bonus action. So, its almost always a better option to cast one of those over attacking with their off-hand.
For that matter, unless you have the War Caster feat, any spellcaster is sub-optimal for dual wielding.
But, the Barbarian, Paladin, and Rogue are all pretty good choices if you want a dual wielding character. Each of them have relatively few options for their bonus action. So, that means you can take that bonus action swing all you want. And, having that second, off-hand attack means you have a higher chance of rolling a critical hit, potentially increasing your damage output.
Mathematically, theres a bit of a drop-off in damage for Two-Weapon Fighting compared to Great Weapon Fighting. This post here on StackExchange explains how the two stack against each other.
Basically, Two-Weapon Fighting outpaces Great Weapon Fighting in the early levels (by about 1 damager per round). But, by 20th level, the tables flip and GWF becomes the mathematically better option by about 10 damage per round.
Honestly, its not that much of a difference (especially at those levels). And personally, I dont think youd notice since combat in DnD 5e swings dramatically in either direction as far as damage output goes.
Now, thematicallydual wielding is pretty cool.
I get this is subjective. But, the image of someone using two swords or axes is so prevalent in media its hard to ignore.
Whether its the dual cutlass wielding pirate or the viking slinging two axes, the image is too badass to ignore.
Dual Wield FAQs
So, with all this out of the way, here are a few frequently asked questions on two-weapon fighting.
If you have others, please leave a comment and Ill do my best to help.
Can Any Class Dual Wield?
Yes. Any of the classes in DnD 5e can dual wield.
The question on whether theyre good at it or not is the issue.
Some classes are better suited for two-weapon fighting like the Barbarian, Paladin, and Rogue. While others are less than ideal like the Cleric, Druid, and, ironically, the Fighter.
Does Dual Wielding Count as Two Attacks?
Yes and no.
Making an attack with your off-hand isnt technically considered an Attack Action. But, spells and abilities that depend on attacks or hits can trigger when you make your second attack.
This is why Paladins make alright dual wielders. They can use their Divine Smite feature on both attacks; the normal one from the Attack Action and the bonus action one with their off-hand.
So, no in that making an attack with your bonus action isnt an Attack Action. And yes in that youre still making an attack.
Its all semantics, really.
Can you Dual Wield Rapiers in DnD 5e?
This always seems to be the weapon people go to when they want to dual wield.
You cant dual wield rapiers by default in DnD 5e. You need to take the Dual Wielder feat in order to do that.
Can You Dual Wield Heavy Weapons in 5e?
Technically, yes. You can dual wield weapons with the Heavy property in DnD 5e.
While it is true you can engage in two-weapon fighting with heavy weapons theres a trick to it. Besides requiring the Dual Wielder feat.
A lot of weapons in 5e with the Heavy property also have the Two-Handed property. Which means you cant dual wield them even with the Dual Wielder feat.
That about covers it for how dual wielding works in DnD 5e.
- Anyone can engage in two-weapon fighting
- You can only use weapons with the Light property unless you take the Dual Wielder feat
- Attacking with your off-hand uses your bonus action
- You dont add your damage to the off-hand attack unless you have the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style
- Extra Attack doesnt affect dual wielding since you only ever get one bonus action on your turn
And, while it may be sub-optimal from a mathematic stance, remember to play the character you want to play. Dont let people bully you into playing a different build just because they feel like dual wielding is bad.
And honestly, the biggest thing to remember is that dual wielding uses your bonus action. So, be mindful of what you can do as a bonus action.
Have you played dual wielding characters before? Do you have any questions about two-weapon fighting I mightve left out? Leave a comment below and we can talk about it.
Hey folks, a little bit of a double post today! Our post today is on, DnD 5e Dual Wielding. It’s a pretty big archetype that people tend to want to run, and it’s something that I think can be easily missed/overlooked when it comes to character creation.
We’ll go over how dual wielding works in 5e, and have a quick FAQ on it at the end. So holster both your axes, take a seat, and let’s dive into the post!
In DnD 5e Dual Wielding is actually something anyone can do. Unlike certain video games, anyone can use two weapons. In DnD basic dual-wielding is actually called “Two-Weapon Fighting”.
What that means is that if you attack using a weapon with the “light property”, you can use your bonus action to attack with another “light” weapon in your other hand.
You cannot add your ability modifier to the weapon attack (unless it’s negative then you must subtract from the attack). You can also choose to throw with the bonus action.
However, if a character has the “Two-Weapon Fighting” fighting style then attacks made with the bonus action are treated as normal attacks with full use of ability modifiers.
This can be gained either from being a fighter and choosing that fighting style or from the “Fighting Initiate” feat from the Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything book.
Finally, there is also the “Dual Wielder” feat, which adds a few things to those using two weapons. Using two weapons grants you a bonus +1 to AC. You are no longer restricted to “light” weapons and you can draw or stow both weapons as if they were one weapon.
Dual Wielding FAQ
Is Dual Wielding Good in DnD 5e?
This is a bit of a difficult question to answer, is dual-wielding optimal? No. Is it cool? Hell yeah. Okay, the damage might not be as great, and you need to invest a little more of the character into the concept to make it worth it. However, thematically? I think it’s pretty awesome.
Can you dual wield with a rapier in DnD 5e?
Anyone can dual wield with any weapon as long as that weapon has the “light” property.
Now, you can dual wield with any weapon that’s 1 handed, as long as you have the dual wielder feat. So yes if you had the feat, you can dual wield a rapier (or any other 1 handed weapon).
Short post, but a useful one, I think a lot of people miss the fact that ANYONE can dual wield, with some penalties. Then if you want to go deeper into it as a character feature, you can, using a couple of feats you can make dual-wielding decently strong.
As always, thanks for taking the time to have a read through this post, and until next time, may your day be a critical success!
Dual wielding 5e
Dual wielding two one-handed weapons is, I swear, one of the most frequently-used fighting styles in D&D 5e. And why wouldnt it be? Slashing two swords or laying down the hammer with two warhammers looks frickin awesome! After all, looking cool in combat is how you win Dungeons and Dragons.
Exhibit A: Me in WotLK trying to justify dual wielding > 2h frost tanking because it looked cool.
In practice, dual wielding is a bit wonky, especially for newer players who are, from my experience, much more likely to build a dual wielding character. They dont have as much experience with the system and typically dont fully understand the downsides and restrictions that come with being a dual wielder.
For the record, the point of this post isnt to dissuade someone from playing a dual wielder. But there are some very real restrictions and limitations that we need to be cognizant of when we play and invest in this type of character because were going to need to make some costly investments to make this work!
The Mechanics of Two-Weapon Fighting
I keep calling it dual wielding, but the correct term for the mechanic in D&D 5e is Two-Weapon Fighting. However, from my experience, everyone just calls it dual wielding.
The gist of Two-Weapon Fighting is this, you can use a bonus action to attack with a light one-handed melee weapon. You can only make this bonus action attack after you take the Attack action with a light one-handed melee weapon in your main hand.
The caveat of this bonus action attack made with your off-hand weapon is that it DOESNT include your ability modifier to its damage. Besides this, its the same as any other weapon attack.
The Players Handbook (PHB) has the rules for Two-Weapon Fighting on page if you wish to do a bit more reading on the subject!
Who Can Dual Wield?
Literally, any character can dual wield provided that they are following the conditions that Two-Weapon Fighting outlines.
Whether or not your wizard will want to dual wield two daggers is another conversation. Its awfully difficult to cast spells without a free hand for your component pouch or focus.
Is Dual Wielding Worthwhile?
Now heres the crux of the issue. Is it worthwhile to use two light weapons such as shortswords as opposed to say a two-handed greatsword or even a longsword and shield combination? Thats up to you and how much stock you put into character optimization and what your goals are for your character build.
I will say that dual wielding does have a few niches in the game. The largest niche being melee combatants before they gain their Extra Attack class feature at level 5.
Early Game Melee Combatants
Prior to gaining Extra Attack these characters generally have only a single Weapon Attack with their action. They also generally dont have a whole lot of features, spells, or other such things to use as a bonus action. If they have an unused bonus action, then they arent milking their action economy for its true potential.
Dual wielding is one way for these frontline melee combatants to gain both a second attack on their turn and grant them a regular bonus action in combat. Sure, a single hit wont deal as much damage as a greatsword, but a dual wielder gets two attempts to hit their target on their turn as opposed to just one.
Two-Weapon Fighting does limit the weapon choices you have, and by partaking in this fighting style you are effectively missing out on +2 AC by opting to not use a shield. The early game is by far the easiest time to lose a character so youre taking on a huge risk by forgoing this AC to dual wield, but thats your call to make.
If damage output is your top priority then this is a potential path you can take for the early game.
Dual wielding can be a huge boon for rogues. They never gain the Extra Attack feature unless they spend five levels multiclassing to obtain it. Being able to wield two shortswords, daggers, or another one-handed light melee weapon can give them a bit of insurance for landing their Sneak Attack.
Though, thats assuming that its a better call to wield a second weapon rather than use Fast Hands or Cunning Action. Its a nice option to have though, but rogues arent hurting for uses for their bonus action by any means.
Improving Your Two-Weapon Fighting
Fret not! There are ways of making Two-Weapon Fighting much more powerful, but they require a bit of an investment. When you level you occasionally gain ability score increases (ASIs). Well, alongside cranking up either your Strength or Dexterity ability scores, you can also take feats to improve your overall combat capabilities.
One such feat is the Dual Wielder feat which, expectedly, improves your Two-Weapon Fighting considerably.
You can also either choose a class that gives you the Two-Weapon Fighting, Fighting Style or multiclass into one of them to improve your damage output with your offhand weapon.
Fighting Style: Two-Weapon Fighting
This Fighting Style is pretty straight-forward. If you take it, the offhand weapon that youd use your bonus action to make an attack with can now include your ability modifier in its damage. This is a significant power boost for any character thats angling to stick with dual wielding throughout their adventures.
The drawback to this Fighting Style is that only two classes can actually take it. The fighter and the ranger are the only two classes in the PHB that have access to this specific Fighting Style. The fighter gets theirs at level 1 while the ranger gets it at level 2.
My Swashbuckler Rogue build included a one-level dip into fighter for the DuelistFighting Style, but you can certainly make a case for doing so for the Two-Weapon FightingFighting Style if your rogue is going to be brandishing two one-handed weapons.
The blood hunter is a homebrew class but has gotten a lot more love than most other homebrews. Its worth mentioning that it also is a class that can take this specific Fighting Style.
The Dual Wielder Feat
You master fighting with two weapons, gaining the following benefits:
- You gain a +1 bonus too AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.
- You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding arent light.
- You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one.
Feats are fun, but theyre not always worth the price of admission. Its tough sometimes to justify spending one of your ASIs on a feat rather than giving yourself a +1 to the modifier of one or even two of your ability scores.
ThinkDM did the math on this one, its essentially always better to just ignore this feat and stick to pumping your ASIs into your Strength or Dexterity if youre after damage. Not to mention the fact that you get other bonuses besides straight-up damage for increasing your ability modifier.
With that said and done, its not a completely terrible feat. Youll gain some flavor and quality of life features by taking the Dual Wielder feat. Its just more optimal to crank up your Strength or Dexterity to 20 before grabbing this one.
Dual wielding looks cool and is fun in terms of its flavor. The mechanics of it can be a bit rough in practice and sub-optimal, but at the end of the day, its not detrimental to your party to play a dual wielder instead of a more optimal choice such as a great weapon fighter or a sword and board fighter.
All in all, Two-Weapon Fighting isnt all that complex in D&D 5e. Theres certainly room for improvement in my opinion as it does feel a bit clunky, but its extremely accessible for any character to use and its pretty clear-cut in terms of its mechanics.
Basically, you just have to make sure youre wielding two one-handed weapons with the light property unless you have the Dual Wielder feat. If you make an Attack action with your main hand weapon, then you can make one with your offhand as a bonus action. However, you do not include your ability score modifier in the attacks damage unless you have the Two-Weapon Fighting Fighting Style.
Keep all of that in mind and get to hacking, stabbing, and bashing your way through hoards of enemies at top-speed!
If you enjoyed what you read be sure to check out my ongoing review for all of the official D&D 5e books!
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Dual wielding is just cool, isn’t it?
Whether you’re slashing through enemies with two swords or laying down some pain with a pair of warhammers, there’s just something visually awesome about dual wielding in D&D 5e.
Whether you’re taking inspiration from popular characters like Drizzt Do’Urden with his twin scimitars, Dwalin from The Hobbit with his axes, or any other such awesome and memorable characters, D&D 5e makes it possible!
Now, it’s worth mentioning that making a dual wielding character is going to take some early-game investments. Just be prepared!
So let’s go ahead and dive right into our explanation of dual wielding in D&D 5e!
Why Dual Wield in 5e?
Beyond looking cool, dual wielding is a great way to increase your damage output at lower levels.
Classes like Fighters and Rangers don’t get their Extra Attack feature until 5th level, so dual wielding lets them use their bonus action to take a swing with their offhand weapon.
At early levels, martial characters typically don’t have many options for using their bonus action. Dual wielding gives them an opportunity to take full advantage of their turn!
We’ll go into how these classes can further improve their ability to dual wield in a bit. But first, let’s take a closer look at the mechanics of dual wielding in D&D 5e.
Explaining Dual Wielding Mechanics
So, let’s address the elephant room before we continue any further: the Rules as Written don’t refer to it as “dual wielding.” If you’re looking up any rules for dual wielding in D&D 5e, you’ll find it referred to as “Two-Weapon Fighting.”
These rules can be found in the Player’s Handbook in the Melee Attacks section of page
Requirements to Dual Wield Weapons in 5e
To dual wield in 5e, both weapons must have the “light” property. The Dual Wielder feat (which we’ll cover later in this article) overcomes this requirement.
The following weapons have the “light” property and can be used for dual wielding in D&D 5e:
- Light Hammers
Attacking While Dual Wielding
When dual wielding, you must make your Attack action with a light weapon in one hand. Using your bonus action, you can make another attack with a light weapon that you are holding in your other hand.
If the attack on your bonus action hits, you do not add your ability modifier to the attack’s damage. However, if your ability modifier is negative, it is still subtracted from the damage of the attack.
Maybe you want to attack an enemy, but they’re just out of reach. Why not just throw your weapon at them?
If either of your weapons has the thrown property, you can throw them using the dual wielding rules we covered above.
If you’d like to be a dagger-slinging rogue like Critical Role’s Vax’ildan, you’ll also want to review the rules on Ranged Combat in D&D.
Drawing Your Weapons
Typically, drawing your weapon is a free action as a part of your movement and action. The Player’s Handbook mentions this in a box on page and on page as part of the “Use an Object” section.
However, drawing your second weapon isn’t a part of this unless you take the Dual Wielder feat.
If you have not taken the Dual Wielder feat, you must take the “Use an Object” action to draw your second weapon.
This is a seemingly minor detail, but it’s definitely one worth factoring in when deciding whether or not you’re going to fight with two weapons.
Can Any Class Dual Wield in 5e?
Alright… so… yes, any class can dual wield in D&D 5e as long as they fit the requirements.
But that doesn’t mean that every class should dual wield.
Casters need to have at least one free hand to cast their spells whether using an arcane focus or digging in their spell component pouch.
I’m not saying your wizard can’t charge in with two blades to lay down some hurt. I’m just saying it’s a bit of a weird decision…
Rogues and Dual Wielding
Rogues have the most to gain from dual wielding.
Unless they want to spend 5 levels multiclassing into a class like Ranger or Fighter, the Rogue does not get the Extra Attack ability.
They make up for this with their Sneak Attack damage, but are still faced with a slight problem:
What if they miss?
If the Rogue misses with their primary attack, dual wielding a second weapon can help them to still take advantage of their Sneak Attack ability.
Just keep in mind, though, that Rogues can only use their Sneak Attack once per turn!
That said, Rogues already have several options when it comes to using their bonus action. All Rogues can use their Cunning Action, but some subclasses have other features that require a bonus action such as the Mastermind’s Master of Tactics ability (from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything) or the Thief’s Fast Hands.
Dual Wielder Feat
The Dual Wielder feat is on page of the Player’s Handbook and, as you’d guess, gives you bonuses to dual wielding.
When you take this feat, get a +1 bonus to your AC when dual wielding weapons. Additionally, you’re able to draw both of your weapons when you would normally only be able to draw one.
But the best part?
The weapons that you use no longer need to have the “light” property!
If you want to go swinging into battle with dual battleaxes, warhammers, or any other one-handed weapon, this is how you do it!
Just be aware, unless you’re playing as a Variant Human (who gets a free feat at 1st level), you will have to choose between taking this feat or an Ability Score Improvement.
This can be a tough choice and is definitely an investment at those early levels. We talk about this a bit more in our Leveling Up article.
Generally speaking, it’s a more optimized decision to boost your Strength or Dexterity (as appropriate for your class and weapon of choice) Ability Scores before taking this feat since those scores affect your damage, attack rolls, and skills.
But don’t feel beholden to what is the “optimal” strategy. If you want to fight with dual battleaxes, go for it! Enemies will be too busy running for cover to scream at you for being “sub-optimal.”
Taking the Two-Weapon Fighting Style
The Two-Weapon Fighting Style does exactly what it says: helps you fight better when dual wielding.
Fighters and Rangers get access to this Fighting Style at 1st and 2nd level respectively.
When taking the Two-Weapon Fighting Style, you are able to add your ability modifier to the damage of your attacks with your offhand weapon.
If you are playing a Fighter or Ranger, you will definitely want to pick this one up early. Being able to add your ability modifier to your offhand damage is a pretty sizable boost!
If you are playing another class, such as the Rogue, you may find it worth taking a level or two in one of these classes so that you can get access to the Two Weapon Fighting Style.
So… Is Dual Wielding Worth It in 5e?
This almost feels like a bit of a cop-out, but Dual Wielding is absolutely worth it if that’s how you want your character to fight.
Mathematically, Dual Wielding is not necessarily the “optimized” choice. Realistically, a character has more staying power by using the classic “sword and board” or Great Weapon Fighting builds. Especially if you forego using a shield so that you can dual wield, you’re denying yourself access to extra AC at lower levels when the threat of death is far more real.
Meanwhile, by the time you start gaining access to Extra Attacks, dual wielding becomes noticeably less useful than striking with a heavy-hitter like a greatsword or greataxe.
But that’s not to say that Dual Wielding is all flavor with no use!
You may not deal as much damage with a single attack, but having extra chances to hit is always a good thing!
Dual wielding mostly shines in the early levels before characters gain access to Extra Attacks. As I mentioned, you’re giving up AC to focus more on your damage output. It’s a risk, for sure, but you know what they say about “no risk, no reward!”
So, yes, Dual Wielding in 5e is worth it in 5e. Your character should play based on your vision for them and not necessarily sticking to the “meta” of what’s optimized or not. Furthermore, Dual Wielding fills a specific niche (particularly at early levels) for damage output and action economy.
Conclusions – Dual Wielding in D&D 5e
Grass grows, sun shines, and dual wielding is cooler than a Frost Giant’s snow cone.
The rules for dual wielding in 5e are pretty straightforward, you just need to make sure that you keep them in mind when playing. Fortunately, taking the Dual Wielder feat and Two-Weapon Fighting Style overcome most of the standard rules for dual wielding.
So go forth like the one-person army you are and get to swinging to your heart’s content!
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