5E Channel Divinity: Sacred Weapon - Does the action to activate it make it weak?

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I think there are a lot of situational times that it's good that ends up with it being a positive bonus.

Here's some off the top of my head.
1. Sometimes it doesn't take up an attack - like when the foe start more than one move away but less than two - you can move and activate.

2. If you are hasted, do it with your Haste action and you are only giving up one attack.

3. Up level opponents have different criteria. For example, if a foe has a high AC and you miss a lot, wasting one action to be able to hit regularly is likely worth it.

4. With a -5/+10 feat and a 20 CHR, it becomes -0/+10. Where does that math end up in missing an action?

5. Evaluating it in a vacuum is all we can do but not the full picture. Say the first round against tough opponents is "buff the pally" time and you beat your party with initiative. Missing an action for unbuffed attacks to later make the buffs you receive even more effective due to bonus to hit and damage may be worth it.

6. Say and average combat lasts 4 rounds. (Someone else said 3 and then more for harder.) If you have a 65% chance to hit and average 12 points per hit with 2 attacks, that's 15.6 per action for 62.4 total for four rounds. With +4 hit/damage you'd have 90% chance to hit for 12 points of damage with 2 attacks, that's 21.6 per action for 64.8 for three rounds. Huh, seems like it does more damage just off the cuff.

EDIT: @rczarnec corrected me that it only adds to hit, so I updated the examples above.
 
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Mort

Community Supporter
Actually, Vow of Enmity does work at range.

Vow's weakness vs. Sacred Weapon is that it only works on one enemy, and once it's dead, that's it. Sacred Weapon lasts against multiple foes.
Could swear it said melee attack, but yes you are correct!
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I think there are a lot of situational times that it's good that ends up with it being a positive bonus.

Here's some off the top of my head.
1. Sometimes it doesn't take up an attack - like when the foe start more than one move away but less than two - you can move and activate.
Yep

2. If you are hasted, do it with your Haste action and you are only giving up one attack.
I don't think you can use haste for channel divinity action can you?

3. Up level opponents have different criteria. For example, if a foe has a high AC and you miss a lot, wasting one action to be able to hit regularly (and with nice bonus damage) is likely worth it.
Better off just throwing more attacks at the enemy than giving up an action middle of combat to boost hit because you realize you are missing a little too often.

4. With a -5/+10 feat and a 20 CHR, it becomes -0/+15. Where does that math end up in missing an action?
So what a level 16 Character... Level 16+ characters make poor arguments

5. Evaluating it in a vacuum is all we can do but not the full picture. Say the first round against tough opponents is "buff the pally" time and you beat your party with initiative. Missing an action for unbuffed attacks to later make the buffs you receive even more effective due to bonus to hit and damage may be worth it.
Possibly a good use. If the party plans to buff you and you go before them then buffing yourself that first turn will prove advantageous.

6. Say and average combat lasts 4 rounds. (Someone else said 3 and then more for harder.) If you have a 65% chance to hit and average 12 points per hit with 2 attacks, that's 15.6 per action for 62.4 total for four rounds. With +4 hit/damage you'd have 90% chance to hit for 16 points of damge with 2 attacks, that's 28.8 per action for 86.4 for three rounds. Huh, seems like it does more damage just off the cuff.
Again with the level 16 characters???

Besides, you've left off the critical point - Damage Now > Damage later and you miss out on a lot of damage now because in a scenario where you might want to buff then you'll want to smite as well. So yea, you might come out a little higher by the end of the fight, of course the damage now PC might have already ended the fight in 2 to 3 rounds instead of 4...
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I think you missed the point of lots of infrequent times adding up to a reasonable use rate.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I think you missed the point of lots of infrequent times adding up to a reasonable use rate.
Why are you talking to me as if I think that it's a bad channel divinity? I think it's very strong and situations arise often enough to make it on average be useful - while also believing that most any buff attempted on the ability would make it Overpowered.

What I also think is that your post was counterproductive because it used weak points in argument for the position.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
Okay, so I dug down into what's bothering me about it more, by looking at every published paladin subclass so far.

Some other subclasses have situational Channel Divinity features, but every other subclass has at least one non-situational, bread and butter ability you will be using regularly in the situation of "combat". Both of the Oath of Devotion's Channel Divinity features are situational.
I've been playing a devotion paladin (currently level 6). The power is not that situational. As long as you know a fight is coming up it works just fine.

The group I'm in also has a vengeance paladin, I haven't felt like I've been lagging behind.

Especially because most of the time the DM throws groups at us - my channel divinity is better on groups.

I also did math. Assuming you don't need the magical weapon element to overcome damage resistance (a pretty good assumption for a paladin in most campaigns starting somewhere around mid-level) it will take 4-5 rounds for the buff to pay off in damage output. Running into a fight that you can reliably predict will go 4-5 rounds 1/short rest is pretty situational in my experience.

The other situation is setting up ambushes. Again, this isn't something you can reliably assume you can pull off, especially with the Stealth Disadvantage you probably have from heavy armor, though at least if you fail to pull it off you don't blow your Channel Divinity. But while it isn't an oath violation, there is something thematically wrong about having a signature ability of the classic paladin most reliably trigger when ambushing foes.
Maybe it's because our DM routinely over CRs our combats but our fights tend to run on the long side, maybe it's an outlier.

That said, again I really haven't felt any problems keeping up with the vengeance paladin.

Since it isn't a spell, you can still cast a bonus action spell when you use this. So I started looking at bonus action spells to see if there was anything that you would substantially benefit from casting on your first round. About the only one that I was seeing was compelled duel. Now, activating Sacred Weapon and casting compelled duel for your first round is pretty cool, no denying that. But it uses up a spell slot, requires committing to a certain strategy that you shouldn't have to commit to, and it's still situational.
What about shield of faith? Also a bonus action so can be done in the same round, worthwhile if you plan to wade into combat.

Or divine favor? Also can be cast in the same round, and a decent bump to future damage.

So that's what it comes down to--they need a non-situational Channel Divinity feature to be on par with other paladins.

The obvious solution is to make Sacred Weapon a bonus action, and since (unless I'm mistaken), Oath of Devotion is generally considered the weakest PHB paladin subclass, I'll probably go with that. But I don't really like it because the paladin class in 5e is a strong class as it is and none of the subclasses need buffs, and because that makes it stronger than Oath of Enmity, which is otherwise similar.

Any obvious mistakes in that analysis? Any suggestions for better ways to fix the feature?
I'll dispute the premise that devotion paladins are the weakest. Or that the feature needs fixing.

Sacred weapon needs some more thought than vow of enmity - but has enough significant advantages (multiple targets, stacks with advantage) to balance it out.

Making sacred weapon a bonus action puts it over the top, and unnecessarily so.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
IT is an ability you only use in Hard Fights.
And since you only have one use per Rest that is ok. Yes you might give up 2 attack, but most probably there is always a situation where you can sneak it in.
When you think about how bless is rated, this ability should be rated well too. It might result in twice the bonus. You also need to consider that vow of enmity gives advantage which you might get otherwise too. So it might net in no advantage at all.
In the end, bonus action for the sacred weapon might be ok, but it becomes less interesting.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
What I also think is that your post was counterproductive because it used weak points in argument for the position.
I respect that you are trying to keep posts honest even when they support your point of view, but please listen to the point I am making. Let me try it in a different way: Quantity has it's own Quality.

Every situational ways that it is strong adds a bit more to saying it's a good feature. It does not matter that they are individually weak, they are cumulative.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
An additional situational usage: it can add to a ranged weapon. So when an encounter has no way to close, it can make the likely-low-DEX paladin actually able to contribute with a bow.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Explorer
I would consider sacred weapon to be one of the stronger channel divinity options. I'm currently a level 9 devotion paladin and while I don't use it as often as I should in the fights where I do use it it proves to be very useful. A single action to not miss the rest of the fight is good.

If I were to adjust anything on the devotion paladin it would be tweaking the spell list. Most of the spells are either already on the paladin spell list or just very lack luster.
 

rczarnec

Explorer
Every situational ways that it is strong adds a bit more to saying it's a good feature. It does not matter that they are individually weak, they are cumulative.
I think that the issue is that some of your situations are inaccurate. For example, you can't use Sacred Weapon with a Hasted action. Sacred Weapon also doesn't add damage though you claim it does in a couple of your examples and use that to justify its use.

PHB p.86 - For 1 minute, you add your Charisma modifier to attack rolls made with that weapon (with a minimum bonus of +1).

It states attack rolls, not attack and damage rolls.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I think that the issue is that some of your situations are inaccurate. For example, you can't use Sacred Weapon with a Hasted action. Sacred Weapon also doesn't add damage though you claim it does in a couple of your examples and use that to justify its use.

PHB p.86 - For 1 minute, you add your Charisma modifier to attack rolls made with that weapon (with a minimum bonus of +1).

It states attack rolls, not attack and damage rolls.
Thanks, I had forgotten that. I updated the examples with notice they changed and gave you credit.

I don't thing that was FrogReaver's point, because he commented on each example and didn't mention the extra damage.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
I have a new proposal at the bottom. First though, some points have been brought up that deserve to be addressed.

Regarding my claims that Oath of Devotion is the only subclass where both Channel Divinity options are situational:

Oath of Ancients...and one that is easy for high-STR or high-DEX enemies to make a save against.
Sure. But every attack has a chance to miss too. It isn't the strongest option. But it is a perfectly reasonable option to try in any fight that involves melee.

Oath of Vengeance has one situationally useful CD and one that is fantastic but only used against bosses.
I'm not sure which one you are counting as which. Abjure Enemy is the one that looks more situational to me (though even then, I'm not sure if I would go that far, since you can use it to good effect in most fights). Vow of Enmity is your real bread and butter option. You might not use it on a 7 hp kobold, but any fight with more than a collection of mooks is going to benefit from this. And because it only takes a bonus action, you don't have to sacrifice your action to use it.

Oath of the Crown has one situational CD and another that's pretty mediocre in general.
Champion Challenge is something you can use most of the time. Turn the Tide is more situational, but the situation comes up fairly regularly. I might say one of them is just over the situational line, and one of them is just under. Added together, Oath of the Crown is usually going to be able to benefit from at least one of these in a fight.

Oath of Redemption has two incredibly situational CDs that are moreso than Devotion on their worst day.
? Rebuke the Violent is going to trigger almost every fight, unless your paladin is the only one taking any hits.

So, no, not every other subclass has "at least one non-situational, bread and butter ability."
I think we might just have different perceptions about how often some of those abilities come up, but in case I wasn't clear on what I mean by bread and butter abilities, I'll clarify. For every other paladin subclass I have at least one Channel Divinity option that I can benefit from using in just about any fight, and I'm just waiting to decide whether it's better to use it in this fight, or see if there is a better fight to use it in before our next short rest. That's the decision point, "Do I use it in this fight, or wait for the next one?" With Oath of Devotion, I have two situational abilities. I'm not asking myself "do I use it?" each fight. Rather, I'm waiting for a fight to come up where I think, "Hey, I can use my Channel Divinity here!"

This is going to make a huge difference in how often Channel Divinity gets used. Oath of Devotion just can't use their Channel Divinity class feature the same way as the others can, because of that lack of a non-situational option. They have to see the class feature itself in a different way. I don't like that.

As several posters above have mentioned, it's not just for ambushes. The thing lasts 10 rounds. If you're in a situation where you expect combat to happen within the minute, which is pretty often, go ahead and pop it and you'll still get use out of it.
In my experience there are very few situations where I can expect combat to happen in the next minute if I'm not making it happen by surprising the enemy. As soon as you declare a hostile action in a situation where both sides can see and interact with each other, initiative is rolled. About only way you can pre-cast is if your opponents are not aware of your presence. I mean, I suppose you could stand at the front door of a dungeon, buff up and then start running in, kicking in each door until you find something to fight. But hopefully you're going to check for traps and do a bit of evaluation in each room, which means you can't reasonably expect opponents to show up before the spell wears off, unless you already know they are there.

You can pre-cast spells when your opponents are aware of your presence, assuming you can't yet interact (say you're in different rooms with a closed door). But at that point they can also prepare and pre-cast any spells they might have. If they don't have spells, well that's just caster advantage for the party I guess. The point is that you are either in an ambush situation, or the other side is getting time to prep also.

You are mistaken. Redemption is the weakest, by far. And Crown is usually considered not much better; it's saved by one Oath spell from being at the very bottom. Devotion is average or slightly above average.
I only said it was viewed as the weakest PHB Oath. I haven't personally analyzed that claim, but I've seen it made and nothing that I can see in the PHB immediately leads me to disagree. I reference it as a way to assuage my concern over improving any feature of the paladin powerhouse at all. If this is indeed one of the weaker subclasses, than improving a problematic feature it has is less likely make it outpace the best subclass options.

My issue with sacred weapon proposal. It pretty much becomes the beat channel divinity in the game for any paladin if you make it a bonus action.
You're right. I don't like my proposed fix either, because it is too powerful. I have a new idea that I'll describe below.

I think there are a lot of situational times that it's good that ends up with it being a positive bonus.

Here's some off the top of my head.
1. Sometimes it doesn't take up an attack - like when the foe start more than one move away but less than two - you can move and activate.

...

5. Evaluating it in a vacuum is all we can do but not the full picture. Say the first round against tough opponents is "buff the pally" time and you beat your party with initiative. Missing an action for unbuffed attacks to later make the buffs you receive even more effective due to bonus to hit and damage may be worth it.

6. Say and average combat lasts 4 rounds. (Someone else said 3 and then more for harder.) If you have a 65% chance to hit and average 12 points per hit with 2 attacks, that's 15.6 per action for 62.4 total for four rounds. With +4 hit/damage you'd have 90% chance to hit for 12 points of damage with 2 attacks, that's 21.6 per action for 64.8 for three rounds. Huh, seems like it does more damage just off the cuff.

EDIT: @rczarnec corrected me that it only adds to hit, so I updated the examples above.
For #1, Ready tends to be a good option there. If you are assuming you will be able to make a melee attack with them next turn, then you are assuming they are also moving to engage rather than trying to stay at range, so they are probably going to charge you. This isn't always the case, but I think it comes up enough to be a strong contender for that Action.

For #5 and #6, the math will tell. It looks like you've made a mistake in having a +4 mod increase accuracy from 65% to 90% instead of only to 85%. I think you'll find that if you recalculate things, it will take 4-5 rounds across the board (I've tried it at a few levels with both sword and board and greatsword) for giving up your action to break even or exceed the damage output of just taking the Attack action on the first round. One thing I will point out though, is that the higher your Charisma relative to your Strength, the better benefit you can get from this feature, but it still is unlikely to change those numbers unless you are rocking like a Cha 20 and Str 14 or something (I haven't done the math on that particular element).

What about shield of faith? Also a bonus action so can be done in the same round, worthwhile if you plan to wade into combat.
That's the best suggestion I've heard. If you know opponents are going to be able to get into melee range and attack you before you next turn, then this is a similar option to compelled duel. It takes a spell slot though just to make the Channel Divinity feature useful.

Or divine favor? Also can be cast in the same round, and a decent bump to future damage.
If you can keep divine favor up for a few rounds, it will probably let you catch up a round quicker than if you didn't use either feature, but, as with my compelled duel example, it takes up a spell slot. And if you are planning on spending the slot, then you can just cast divine favor, skip Sacred Weapon entirely and just attack on the first round, and you'll do more damage overall. So it's actually better to just not use Sacred Weapon at all.

Which highlights that Sacred Weapon just isn't really a good choice.

I'll dispute the premise that devotion paladins are the weakest. Or that the feature needs fixing.

Sacred weapon needs some more thought than vow of enmity - but has enough significant advantages (multiple targets, stacks with advantage) to balance it out.
I only referenced weakest in terms of PHB Oaths.

Once it is up it is superior to Vow of Enmity. But the action economy of getting it up is a huge issue, and ends up making it not worth using the majority of the time, which is my point.

Making sacred weapon a bonus action puts it over the top, and unnecessarily so.
I agree that it makes it too strong. I disagree that a fix is unnecessary.

My revised fix proposal is that when you use Sacred Weapon (as an action) you can make a single weapon attack as a bonus action.

While this is pure benefit at levels 3-4, at level 5 it means you are still giving up one of your attacks to use it.

So how does the math on this one work out? It takes 3 rounds for you to break even or surpass the damage you would do by just attacking all of those rounds (down from 4-5 in RAW). This means that if you assume a fight will hit the average length of 3 rounds, you can use Channel Divinity without fear that you're making yourself less effective than not using it at all. It's worth bringing up here that you need a good Charisma to make this work. I ran numbers with a paladin that started with both Strength and Charisma of 16, and after maxing Strength they turned to Charisma. At higher levels if your Charisma bonus is lagging by 2 or more you aren't going to be breaking even on round 3.

With this fix, the feature is what I'd call "acceptable". If the fight doesn't look like it's going to go the 3 round baseline, then don't bother. Otherwise you can probably use it, though you won't actually be getting much out of it until round 4+. By contrast, Vow of Enmity always benefits you immediately.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I have a new proposal at the bottom. First though, some points have been brought up that deserve to be addressed.

Regarding my claims that Oath of Devotion is the only subclass where both Channel Divinity options are situational:



Sure. But every attack has a chance to miss too. It isn't the strongest option. But it is a perfectly reasonable option to try in any fight that involves melee.



I'm not sure which one you are counting as which. Abjure Enemy is the one that looks more situational to me (though even then, I'm not sure if I would go that far, since you can use it to good effect in most fights). Vow of Enmity is your real bread and butter option. You might not use it on a 7 hp kobold, but any fight with more than a collection of mooks is going to benefit from this. And because it only takes a bonus action, you don't have to sacrifice your action to use it.



Champion Challenge is something you can use most of the time. Turn the Tide is more situational, but the situation comes up fairly regularly. I might say one of them is just over the situational line, and one of them is just under. Added together, Oath of the Crown is usually going to be able to benefit from at least one of these in a fight.



? Rebuke the Violent is going to trigger almost every fight, unless your paladin is the only one taking any hits.



I think we might just have different perceptions about how often some of those abilities come up, but in case I wasn't clear on what I mean by bread and butter abilities, I'll clarify. For every other paladin subclass I have at least one Channel Divinity option that I can benefit from using in just about any fight, and I'm just waiting to decide whether it's better to use it in this fight, or see if there is a better fight to use it in before our next short rest. That's the decision point, "Do I use it in this fight, or wait for the next one?" With Oath of Devotion, I have two situational abilities. I'm not asking myself "do I use it?" each fight. Rather, I'm waiting for a fight to come up where I think, "Hey, I can use my Channel Divinity here!"

This is going to make a huge difference in how often Channel Divinity gets used. Oath of Devotion just can't use their Channel Divinity class feature the same way as the others can, because of that lack of a non-situational option. They have to see the class feature itself in a different way. I don't like that.



In my experience there are very few situations where I can expect combat to happen in the next minute if I'm not making it happen by surprising the enemy. As soon as you declare a hostile action in a situation where both sides can see and interact with each other, initiative is rolled. About only way you can pre-cast is if your opponents are not aware of your presence. I mean, I suppose you could stand at the front door of a dungeon, buff up and then start running in, kicking in each door until you find something to fight. But hopefully you're going to check for traps and do a bit of evaluation in each room, which means you can't reasonably expect opponents to show up before the spell wears off, unless you already know they are there.

You can pre-cast spells when your opponents are aware of your presence, assuming you can't yet interact (say you're in different rooms with a closed door). But at that point they can also prepare and pre-cast any spells they might have. If they don't have spells, well that's just caster advantage for the party I guess. The point is that you are either in an ambush situation, or the other side is getting time to prep also.



I only said it was viewed as the weakest PHB Oath. I haven't personally analyzed that claim, but I've seen it made and nothing that I can see in the PHB immediately leads me to disagree. I reference it as a way to assuage my concern over improving any feature of the paladin powerhouse at all. If this is indeed one of the weaker subclasses, than improving a problematic feature it has is less likely make it outpace the best subclass options.



You're right. I don't like my proposed fix either, because it is too powerful. I have a new idea that I'll describe below.



For #1, Ready tends to be a good option there. If you are assuming you will be able to make a melee attack with them next turn, then you are assuming they are also moving to engage rather than trying to stay at range, so they are probably going to charge you. This isn't always the case, but I think it comes up enough to be a strong contender for that Action.

For #5 and #6, the math will tell. It looks like you've made a mistake in having a +4 mod increase accuracy from 65% to 90% instead of only to 85%. I think you'll find that if you recalculate things, it will take 4-5 rounds across the board (I've tried it at a few levels with both sword and board and greatsword) for giving up your action to break even or exceed the damage output of just taking the Attack action on the first round. One thing I will point out though, is that the higher your Charisma relative to your Strength, the better benefit you can get from this feature, but it still is unlikely to change those numbers unless you are rocking like a Cha 20 and Str 14 or something (I haven't done the math on that particular element).



That's the best suggestion I've heard. If you know opponents are going to be able to get into melee range and attack you before you next turn, then this is a similar option to compelled duel. It takes a spell slot though just to make the Channel Divinity feature useful.



If you can keep divine favor up for a few rounds, it will probably let you catch up a round quicker than if you didn't use either feature, but, as with my compelled duel example, it takes up a spell slot. And if you are planning on spending the slot, then you can just cast divine favor, skip Sacred Weapon entirely and just attack on the first round, and you'll do more damage overall. So it's actually better to just not use Sacred Weapon at all.

Which highlights that Sacred Weapon just isn't really a good choice.



I only referenced weakest in terms of PHB Oaths.

Once it is up it is superior to Vow of Enmity. But the action economy of getting it up is a huge issue, and ends up making it not worth using the majority of the time, which is my point.



I agree that it makes it too strong. I disagree that a fix is unnecessary.

My revised fix proposal is that when you use Sacred Weapon (as an action) you can make a single weapon attack as a bonus action.

While this is pure benefit at levels 3-4, at level 5 it means you are still giving up one of your attacks to use it.

So how does the math on this one work out? It takes 3 rounds for you to break even or surpass the damage you would do by just attacking all of those rounds (down from 4-5 in RAW). This means that if you assume a fight will hit the average length of 3 rounds, you can use Channel Divinity without fear that you're making yourself less effective than not using it at all. It's worth bringing up here that you need a good Charisma to make this work. I ran numbers with a paladin that started with both Strength and Charisma of 16, and after maxing Strength they turned to Charisma. At higher levels if your Charisma bonus is lagging by 2 or more you aren't going to be breaking even on round 3.

With this fix, the feature is what I'd call "acceptable". If the fight doesn't look like it's going to go the 3 round baseline, then don't bother. Otherwise you can probably use it, though you won't actually be getting much out of it until round 4+. By contrast, Vow of Enmity always benefits you immediately.
The bonus action attack when using it is a lot better than turning it into an action.

If I wanted to give it more damage you could give it a damage bonus to the first attack that hit an enemy. That would also let you fine tune it a little more. Maybe say +2d6 damage and an additional 1d6 dame at levels 5, 11 and 17
 

Mort

Community Supporter
My revised fix proposal is that when you use Sacred Weapon (as an action) you can make a single weapon attack as a bonus action.

While this is pure benefit at levels 3-4, at level 5 it means you are still giving up one of your attacks to use it.

So how does the math on this one work out? It takes 3 rounds for you to break even or surpass the damage you would do by just attacking all of those rounds (down from 4-5 in RAW). This means that if you assume a fight will hit the average length of 3 rounds, you can use Channel Divinity without fear that you're making yourself less effective than not using it at all. It's worth bringing up here that you need a good Charisma to make this work. I ran numbers with a paladin that started with both Strength and Charisma of 16, and after maxing Strength they turned to Charisma. At higher levels if your Charisma bonus is lagging by 2 or more you aren't going to be breaking even on round 3.

With this fix, the feature is what I'd call "acceptable". If the fight doesn't look like it's going to go the 3 round baseline, then don't bother. Otherwise you can probably use it, though you won't actually be getting much out of it until round 4+. By contrast, Vow of Enmity always benefits you immediately.
You haven't mentioned nature's wrath as far as I can see (the oath of ancients feature). Talk about truly situational! It's a worse version of the first level spell entangle. It also takes an action.

In most situations, I would rate it strictly worse than sacred weapon.

Edit: though it can, if you're fortunate, give the party advantage for a round or 2 (against one target), which figures into my next point.

Next, you're undervaluing the fact that this is a team game. With proper synergy, the oath of devotion paladin will often have advantage courtesy of a party member. We initially played with flanking, which made advantage a near given in most fights, but dropped it as just too much. Even without flanking, advantage isn't that hard to come by. For example, the party bard tends to lead with fairie fire, where appropriate.

At mid levels you're also looking at haste from a party member (our party sorcerer's go-to for tough fights is to twin haste). That changes the math significantly.

Finally, I guess our experience differs re: lead time to a fight. IME, while fights occasionally "just happen," most of the time there's some lead time - and that makes sacred weapon even less situational.
 

Gladius Legis

Explorer
Sure. But every attack has a chance to miss too. It isn't the strongest option. But it is a perfectly reasonable option to try in any fight that involves melee.
No, it is not.

Nature's Wrath requires an action. It does no damage. It can only be done within 10 feet of an enemy, which means you can't even pre-buff with it. It requires a failed saving throw or it has no effect at all, unlike Sacred Weapon which can't fail.

If you're going to crap all over Sacred Weapon simply for requiring an action, then why aren't you directing even more ire at Nature's Wrath, which not only requires an action and leaves you behind in the damage race but has a whole lot else working against it? And keep in mind Ancients' other CD is situational for the same reason Devotion's other one is.

I'm not sure which one you are counting as which. Abjure Enemy is the one that looks more situational to me (though even then, I'm not sure if I would go that far, since you can use it to good effect in most fights). Vow of Enmity is your real bread and butter option. You might not use it on a 7 hp kobold, but any fight with more than a collection of mooks is going to benefit from this. And because it only takes a bonus action, you don't have to sacrifice your action to use it.
Abjure Enemy is the situational one, yes. And it's situational because you usually want to save your CD for Vow of Enmity on a big boss.

Champion Challenge is something you can use most of the time.
Can use, sure. Want to use? It's a pretty weak effect.

Turn the Tide is more situational, but the situation comes up fairly regularly.
IMX, the situation where everybody in the party is under half hit points, but none of them KO-ed, is not at all regular.

? Rebuke the Violent is going to trigger almost every fight, unless your paladin is the only one taking any hits.
It can trigger, but why would you want to use it unless you're fighting something that actually deals enough damage in one single instance for it to even be worth using at all? Keeping in mind many boss-type enemies get their damage output off multiattack rather than single strong instances of damage. It also doesn't work against things like dragon's breath since that is not actually an attack.

For every other paladin subclass I have at least one Channel Divinity option that I can benefit from using in just about any fight, and I'm just waiting to decide whether it's better to use it in this fight, or see if there is a better fight to use it in before our next short rest. That's the decision point, "Do I use it in this fight, or wait for the next one?" With Oath of Devotion, I have two situational abilities. I'm not asking myself "do I use it?" each fight. Rather, I'm waiting for a fight to come up where I think, "Hey, I can use my Channel Divinity here!"
And I reject your claim wholesale that every other oath has a non-situational CD option. See above.
 

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