Dual Wielder feat in DnD 5E explained

It was a close one, the Fighter barely managing to catch the haywire construct’s axe between her crossed swords before jumping back. Spitting a panicked word of Draconic, the sword in her right hand burst into brilliant flame, mist formed as the heat met the cold emanating from the frost-laden blade in her left. Bouncing from the balls of her feet into a charge, she delivered a flurry of swipes, the groaning of metal filling her ears as the construct began to fall to pieces around her. 

Do you find it hard to give up the AC boost a shield can give you? Did your party find a cool new sword but it doesn’t work with your character concept? Dual Wielder may be what you’re looking for.

Let’s break down what this feat gives you:

  • You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand. This helps to compensate for not being able to wear a shield, one of the main drawbacks of two-weapon fighting.
  • You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one-handed melee weapons you are wielding aren’t light. This both allows you to use d8 weapons, a small damage increase, but also gives you more freedom to use any magical weapons you may find.
  • You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one. A quality of life improvement, you no longer have to walk around with one weapon out already!

Surely everyone that has chosen to fight with two weapons would benefit from this feat, right? Well let’s take a look at who might want to spend a valuable ASI on this:

Dual Wielder is most useful for

  • Fighters – With the most attacks of any martial class, and access to Action Surge to make even more, the Fighter can make the most out of a small damage increase like going from a 1d6 shortsword to a 1d8 rapier. They also have two additional ASIs, reducing the cost of taking the feat, which in turn reduces the cost of two-weapon fighting overall by giving them a +1 AC.

Dual Wielder is least useful for

  • Rogues – The main benefit of two-weapon fighting for a Rogue is the additional chance to trigger Sneak Attack, with only one attack they can’t properly leverage a slightly larger damage die, and the other benefits just aren’t worth an ASI when other feats are more tempting.

In the middle of the above two classes is the Barbarian, a MAD class that must choose wisely with their ASIs. However, the combination of Reckless Attack and Brutal Critical do allow them to leverage the d8 weapon dice in a unique way. This isn’t a strong enough argument to put them in the ‘Most Useful For’ section, but it’s good enough to keep them out of the ‘Least Useful For’ section at least.

Only classes that may want to use two-weapon fighting rules, to begin with, are considered here, so spellcasters, Monks, and Rangers are not compared.

We hope this article has helped you claim that cool new magic weapon your party just found and that you don’t cut yourself too badly whilst learning to draw both swords at once. If you are new to using two weapons and want to learn more then check out our two-weapon fighting article, or if you are new to the game in general then check out our how to play section.

Editor-in-Chief