log in or register to remove this ad

 

Dual Wielder vs. Polearm Master

Dausuul

Legend
So, I was thinking: AC bonus aside, is there any mechanical reason to take the Dual Wielder feat instead of Polearm Master?

(If your response to this is "Because you want to play a dual wielder and you should only care about concept and not mechanics"... well, post that if you must, but don't expect a response, at least from me. I'm interested in mechanical balance here.)

For a character with Extra Attack, the damage dice are the same: 3d8 for Dual Wielder, 2d10+1d4 for Polearm Mastery, both averaging 13.5. However:

Advantages of Polearm Master

  • Adds your stat bonus to the "off-hand" attack.
  • [Edited, per Caliban] All of your attacks have reach.
  • Free opportunity attack when a foe enters your reach.
  • Can be used with Great Weapon Master.
  • Front-loads your damage into your "main-hand" attack, so if you need to use your bonus action for something else, you don't sacrifice as much damage output.
  • You only need one magic weapon to boost all of your attacks.
Advantages of Dual Wielder

  • +1 AC.
Am I missing something here? I mean, I know Polearm Master is a powerhouse feat and Dual Wielder... isn't, but this seems really extreme.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Satyrn

First Post
When I was considering Dual Wielder for my gnome battlemaster (dex based), could see no reason to take it over a Dex boost. All it really would have done was boost a few numbers that the Dex boost would too.

Maybe it's in some way better on a Str character, but I doubt it. I just don't see myself ever considering it again for any character.
 

Spohedus

Explorer
If players are playing through WotC adventures, I would wager you will find more magical 1d8 one handed weapons than polearms. That's a big deal when so many things after 5th level are resistant to non-magical weapons. If you can get your hands on a nice magical polearm, this is obviously irrelevant.
 

CTurbo

First Post
There is no denying the PAM is superior to TWF and Dual Wielding in general, but the Dual Wielding feat is there for the players who actually want a TWF character. It does add a boost to both damage and AC so it's not a useless feat.

Another possible advantage to Dual Wielder is that it can be used with a Dex character whereas PAM means Str only. I've seen a Dex Ranger take DW as well as a Swashbuckler Rogue.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
So, I was thinking: AC bonus aside, is there any mechanical reason to take the Dual Wielder feat instead of Polearm Master?

(If your response to this is "Because you want to play a dual wielder and you should only care about concept and not mechanics"... well, post that if you must, but don't expect a response, at least from me. I'm interested in mechanical balance here.)

For a character with Extra Attack, the damage dice are the same: 3d8 for Dual Wielder, 2d10+1d4 for Polearm Mastery, both averaging 13.5. However:

Advantages of Polearm Master

  • Adds your stat bonus to the "off-hand" attack.
  • All but one of your attacks is made with reach.
  • Free opportunity attack when a foe enters your reach.
  • Can be used with Great Weapon Master.
  • Front-loads your damage into your "main-hand" attack, so if you need to use your bonus action for something else, you don't sacrifice as much damage output.
  • You only need one magic weapon to boost all of your attacks.
Advantages of Dual Wielder

  • +1 AC.
Am I missing something here? I mean, I know Polearm Master is a powerhouse feat and Dual Wielder... isn't, but this seems really extreme.
No. Think your evaluation are spot on. To be honest, Dual Wielder is missing a feature to make it a good feat for a specific combat style, just like Archery has SS, Sword and Board as (had?) Shieldmaster etc. I suggest people add a feature that support the narrative and power of this fighting style. Some examples:
- Extra off-and attack on crit/kill
- Off-hand attack on opportunity attacks
- -5 penalty to make a second off-hand attack
- Off-hand reaction on the dodge action.
 


jgsugden

Hero
Dex builds can't do much with Polearm Master. This is the real core of it - dual wielding is really the way to bump up a PC willing to to up both hand, but as they can also be good at archery, etc... it is fair that they're not as good at this element as the heavy weapon fighters.

Also, sometimes you're better off with two magic weapons than one - each might have their own benefits. However, in 5E, you may not ever find a single magic weapon, much less two good ones, so....
 

Saelorn

Hero
It's less that Dual Wielder is bad, and more that Polearm Mastery is too good as-written. If you remove the +Str damage from the off-hand attack, and remove the Reach feature while double-weaponing, that would bring it much more into line.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If you're a rogue, you wouldn't ever take PAM, but you might take DWF for the plus to ACand a slight increase in damage.

If you're a fighter, you can take a fighting style to get off-hand ability mod damage and the two become roughly comparable. Add in dual-throwing weapons as a bonus.

I also don't think higher AC is something to discount so easily.

So for fighter types, roughly equivalent IMO. Others? If they can use polearms PAM may take the lead
 

Dausuul

Legend
Another possible advantage to Dual Wielder is that it can be used with a Dex character whereas PAM means Str only. I've seen a Dex Ranger take DW as well as a Swashbuckler Rogue.
Hmm, that is true. I suppose it could be moderately useful for a Dex-based melee specialist, and that does let you take advantage of the benefits of high Dex (initiative, skills, and a major save).

Though even then, I have some trouble figuring out when I'd use it... as Satyrn points out, +2 Dex gives you the same damage and AC boost as Dual Wielder, and +1 initiative, and +1 to hit, and +1 to all your Dex skills, and +1 to bow damage. So until you hit the cap, there's no reason to even consider it, and when you do hit the cap, there are so many better options for a feat.

Note: Nothing in the feat says that the bonus action attack from PAM doesn't have reach as well...
...Wow, you are correct. Somehow I'd got it into my head that the off-hand attack didn't have reach. Polearm Mastery is even stronger than I thought.

Updating original post.
 

Saelorn

Hero
Though even then, I have some trouble figuring out when I'd use it... as Satyrn points out, +2 Dex gives you the same damage and AC boost as Dual Wielder, and +1 initiative, and +1 to hit, and +1 to all your Dex skills, and +1 to bow damage. So until you hit the cap, there's no reason to even consider it, and when you do hit the cap, there are so many better options for a feat.
Are there, though? A +1 bonus to damage and AC is significant. Those are things that come up multiple times per round. Even if it's not as good as +1 to hit and damage and AC, etc; it's probably better than anything else.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If you're a rogue, you wouldn't ever take PAM, but you might take DWF for the plus to AC and a slight increase in damage.
It's a very slight increase, hardly worth a feat. Rogues are all about one big hit instead of a barrage of little ones. They mostly dual wield as backup to ensure they land a Sneak Attack every round. If you hit with that first attack, you usually get more mileage out of using your bonus action for Cunning Action*. So most of the time it's a whopping +1 damage per turn, up to +2 if you take the second attack.

If you're a fighter, you can take a fighting style to get off-hand ability mod damage and the two become roughly comparable.
If you're a fighter, the PAM guy has Great Weapon Fighting and gets to re-roll 1s and 2s. Alternatively, the PAM guy could take the Defense fighting style and poach your one small advantage. Either way, you're still behind.

Add in dual-throwing weapons as a bonus.
Hmm... that is a fair point. Dual throwing is decent damage, and the ability to draw multiple weapons in a turn supports it nicely. The only problem is that thrown weapons use Strength, so you don't get to enjoy the benefits of being a Dex fighter.

[SIZE=-2]*Unless of course the latest Sage Advice tweet declares that you have to choose whether to invoke dual wielding when you declare the Attack action.[/SIZE]
 
Last edited:

Satyrn

First Post
From another perspective - the one I tend to use when picking feats - PM is infinitely superior to DW for the simple reason that it gives me something new to do (the attack) rather than just improving some numbers.

I didn't consider getting to dual wield rapiers instead of short swords as getting something new.
 

Saelorn

Hero
Hmm... that is a fair point. Dual throwing is decent damage, and the ability to draw multiple weapons in a turn supports it nicely. The only problem is that thrown weapons use Strength, so you don't get to enjoy the benefits of being a Dex fighter.
Finesse thrown weapons can use Dex to hit and damage. It does pretty much limit you to daggers, though.

Consider also that, without feats, Dexterity has a lot more going for it than Strength does. If the Strength-supporting feats are more powerful than the Dex-supporting feats, then that should make them more comparable over-all. Instead of comparing how much one feat helps a Strength-based fighter, to how much the other feat helps a Dex-based fighter, consider the whole picture of how a Strength-based fighter with their one feat compares to a Dex-based fighter with their other feat.
 

CTurbo

First Post
Though even then, I have some trouble figuring out when I'd use it... as Satyrn points out, +2 Dex gives you the same damage and AC boost as Dual Wielder, and +1 initiative, and +1 to hit, and +1 to all your Dex skills, and +1 to bow damage. So until you hit the cap, there's no reason to even consider it, and when you do hit the cap, there are so many better options for a feat.

Oh I completely agree that A Dex character shouldn't consider it mechanically until Dex is maxed, but after Dex is maxed, it doesn't give you even more.
 


CTurbo

First Post
While we are on the subject of it, I have actually taken the Dual Wielder feat twice. Once on my Str Fighter build that I specifically wanted to TWF with, and once on one of my Barbarians because I wanted him to use 2 Battleaxes. I was happy with it both times. I typically try to avoid the most popular options and combos though that everybody just HAS to play like PAM+Sentinel and now lately dipping Hexblade for every martial character.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I don't generally worry too much about a point or two of damage here and there. Don't underestimate getting up to 4 ranged attacks as you close to melee distance though. Depending on campaign and average encounter distance it can make a big difference.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
That might be RAW but that much cheese will constipate you
*shrug* I like it just fine. I've got two AL characters that use it - a halfling barbarian and a human paladin/warlock. I wish spears worked with PAM, but you use what you can get.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top