Dual Wielder 5e

Published on June 9, 2023, Last modified on June 12th, 2023

Master two-weapon fighting with the Dual Wielder feat in D&D 5e. Increase your combat versatility, damage potential, and defensive capabilities.

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What Is Dual Wielder 5e?

The Dual Wielder feat is an interesting choice for any character looking to increase their offensive capabilities in combat. This feat gives bonuses characters to who are wielding two weapons at the same time, providing more defensive capabilities and allowing more weapons to be considered in your load out.

How Does Dual Wielder Work?

As outlined in the Player’s Handbook, the Dual Wielder feat provides a few key benefits:

  • You get +1 to AC when you wield melee weapon in each hand.
  • You can use two-weapon fighting even with weapons that don’t have the light property.
  • You can draw and stow two one-handed weapons as a free action.

Is Dual Wielder Good?

In our 5e Feats Tier List, Dual Wielder was given a B Tier rating, making it a niche feat that can improve some builds in D&D 5e.

+1 AC halves the disadvantage of taking a second weapon instead of a shield, and being able to use one-handed melee weapons that aren’t “light” enables you to take a longsword or rapier for extra damage.

Unfortunately, the math for this doesn’t quite check out when you compare it to heavy weapon builds using Great Weapon Master. In reality, wielding d8 weapons instead of d6 weapons only nets you two extra damage per turn.

It can also interfere with classes that are bonus action-heavy, as dual wielders really want to be using their bonus action each turn to attack to make the most of the fact that they’re losing 1 AC from not wielding a shield or other class features.

Dual Wielder 5e Interactions

Dual wield (also known as two-weapon fighting) is an intricate subsection of combat that’s relatively rules heavy. The rules of two-weapon fighting in D&D 5e can be found in our offhand attack article.

Can you dual wield without the Dual Wielder feat?

Yes, you can still wield a weapon in each hand if each weapon has the ‘light’ property without the dual wielder feat.

This feat enables you to pick up a rapier or longsword in both hands for 1d8 damage instead of the 1d6 damage a shortsword provides.

You still can’t add your ability modifier to the damage of your offhand attack without the Two-Weapon Fighting Style.

What are the best weapons to dual wield in 5e?

The best weapons to use with the Dual Wielder feat are the longsword and the rapier. Because each of the weapons you use for dual wielding need to be one-handed, the best you’ll get is a d8 damage dice. Which of those weapons you decide to use will depend on your build.

Strength martials will probably want to go for the longsword because it has the versatile property and can be wielding in two hands for a d10 damage dice, in case you drop your second weapon. Dexterity martials, on the other hand, will want to go for the rapier because it allows them to attack with their Dexterity modifier.

Can I wield a greatsword or other heavy weapon with Dual Wielder?

No. Even though the Dual Wielder feat no long restricts you to weapons with the “light” property, they still have to be one-handed.

Does the Dual Wielder feat work with hand crossbows?

No. The Dual Wielder feat specifies melee weapons. If you’re looking to wield a hand crossbow in each hand, check out the Crossbow Expert feat.

Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Dual Wielder?

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good the Dual Wielder 5e feat is for a specific class/subclass.

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Builds that will make the most out of this feat are those that can activate extra abilities when they hit with melee attacks. Things like extra damage per hit from the barbarian’s rage or ranger’s hunter’s mark can do a lot to make the damage more worth it. Rogues can also make the most out of this feat if they want to be more of a skirmisher build who to use their bonus action for more opportunities to land their Sneak Attack.

Artificer: Artificers primarily focus on casting spells and creating magical objects. While they do have some martial abilities, taking Dual Wielder likely isn't the best use of a feat for them.

Barbarian: Barbarians can make good use of the Dual Wielder feat, particularly if they aren't utilizing a two-handed weapon or shield. The added AC can be a good substitute for a shield, and the additional attack can take advantage of their Rage damage bonus.

Bard: Bards generally focus on spells and abilities that support their allies, making the Dual Wielder feat a less optimal choice. Bards could potentially utilize this feat if they're pursuing a more combat-oriented build, like College of Swords or Valor. That said, Bardic Inspiration and some of their most popular spells require their bonus action, making this feat a bit clunky for them.

Cleric: Clerics are typically spellcasters first and foremost, and they often rely on shields for added AC. Some domains might support a more martial approach where Dual Wielder could be considered, but typically there are more synergistic feat choices

Druid: Druids are spellcasters who usually don't focus on dual wielding weapons. Wild Shape often eliminates the need for weapons, and their spellcasting would be hindered by holding a weapon in each hand.

Fighter: Good option for Two-Weapon Fighting builds, but seeing as that build is suboptimal, the ceiling for this feat is quite low. Most of the fighters that are interested in the Dual Wielder feat will be DEX-based fighters, as they can't enhance their strikes with Great Weapon Master and they aren't tanky enough for Sentinel.

Monk: Monks in 5e typically rely on their unarmed strikes and don't gain as much benefit from dual wielding. Their Martial Arts feature also usually outshines the benefits of Dual Wielder.

Paladin: Paladins usually only get two attacks, so a third attack as a bonus action can help boost damage. It's main benefit will be if you miss your first two attacks, then you'll get another chance to land an attack and smite on your turn. That said, a feat like Great Weapon Master or Sentinel is going to benefit the paladin's playstyle much more than this feat will.

Ranger: Taking Two-Weapon Fighting with this makes the build somewhat viable, especially for DEX builds. While some subclasses offer more attacks, the ranger's class features only provide two attacks, so being able to take a third attack as a bonus action can help you land more hunter's mark enhanced strikes. Keep in mind that casting hunter's mark and moving the target of the spell takes your bonus action, which can interfere with the effectiveness of this feat.

Rogue: While rogues usually focus on delivering a single powerful Sneak Attack, having a second weapon in hand can ensure they get their Sneak Attack damage even if the first attack misses. If their first attack hits and they get to do their Sneak Attack damage, they can always use their bonus action to Disengage or Hide instead of swing their offhand weapon, thanks to Cunning Action. Also, seeing as they don't get proficiency with shields, this is a good way to boost their AC.

Sorcerer: Nothing here for a sorcerer.

Warlock: Nothing here for a warlock.

Wizard: Nothing here for a wizard.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Adamantine best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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