Great Weapon Master 5e
Published on March 6, 2022, Last modified on May 24th, 2022
Great Weapon Master has become a notorious feat in D&D 5e for being the most powerful choice for melee builds that want to output tons of damage. If you’re barbarian, fighter, or paladin is charging into battle with a two-handed greatsword, you’ll want to pick up Great Weapon Master.
Todd Lockwood - Wizards of the Coast - Sun Titan
What Is Great Weapon Master 5e?
Anyone who enjoys colossal, Monster Hunter-esque weapons wants to bring those into the World’s Greatest Role-Playing Game, D&D 5e. While they already exist to a degree in the game, they aren’t quite the same as their video game counterparts. However, they do still share a penchant for massive, powerful hits.
In the current edition of Dungeons and Dragons, they opted to include a feat that helps those players who want to use these weapons and make them a better option. The Great Weapon Master feat brings some more flavor to the weapon type to differentiate them from the competition.
How Does Great Weapon Master Work?
Once you’ve picked up this feat, you gain two benefits:
- If you make a weapon attack with a Heavy weapon that you are proficient with, you may choose to take a -5 penalty on your attack roll. If you succeed on the attack, you can add +10 to the damage roll.
- During your turn, if you drop a creature’s hit points to zero or land a critical hit with any melee weapon, you can make an additional attack roll as a bonus action.
Basically, you’re incentivized to be using weapons with the Heavy property to inflict heaps of damage at the cost of accuracy. However, the second part of the feat does allow you to get a functional cleave (which doesn’t exist in 5e outside of an optional rule in the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
It’s important to note that not all classes can use weapons with the Heavy property. All of the weapons in the Player’s Handbook that have the Heavy property are martial weapons, which some classes don’t have access to without picking up the Weapon Master feat.
Is Great Weapon Master Good?
We gave Great Weapon Master an S Tier rating In our 5e Feats Tier List, making it among the most potent feats in D&D 5e.
Great Weapon Master is widely considered to be the best feat to take for great weapon melee builds. Because D&D 5e’s AC doesn’t scale with levels, taking a -5 to hit to get +10 damage is a no brainer at higher levels.
This in itself would be enough to get this feat into the A Tier, but getting a free attack as a bonus action whenever you drop a creature to 0 or score a crit pushes this ability into the S Tier.
Great Weapon Master 5e Interactions
This feat adds a few clever interactions that might come up while monster slaying. Here are a few interesting interactions:
- If you also have the Polearm Master feat, you can combine the two together and use the additional damage on your d4 die.
- Using a weapon in any way that were to turn it into an improvised weapon (such as a melee attack with a longbow), means that it no longer has the Heavy property and will not benefit from this feat.
- You are able to move after dropping a creature to zero hit points, but before using your bonus action if you choose to.
- Those who have the Sentinel feat can use their bonus attack if they kill an enemy with the Sentinel reaction.
- This is sort of DM-dependent. The rules of 5E don’t explicitly eliminate the possibility of getting a bonus action as part of a reaction, so it’s up to your table’s discretion.
Anyone who’s had pipe dreams of wading into battle with a big, meaty weapon Dark Souls style will absolutely love this feat. For better or worse, Great Weapon Master ends up as one of the best feats to pick up for anyone focusing on these mighty weapons.
How do you feel about Great Weapon Master? Do you have a special build that knocks this feat out of the park? Let us know in the comments below!