The great weapon master feat was one of the mainstays for martial characters in 5th Edition D&D, this is on the short list of every martial build, particularly fighters and barbarians. The idea of being such a master with your weapon you can just cut through an enemy’s defenses to be that much more dangerous is feeling that many players love for their characters.
But does that still hold up?
In One DnD the Great Weapon Master feat gives a player +1 to Strength, gives a bonus action attack after a Critical hit or kill, and adds extra damage equal to their proficiency bonus once per turn.
Let’s dive further into this feat to get to the meat of what it has to offer.
Great Weapon Master Feat DnD One Review
The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording to see what it really offers. So let’s take a look at the current iteration of the One DnD Great Weapon Master feat.
From Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes 2022:
Prerequisite: Proficiency with Any Martial Weapon
You’ve learned to use the weight of a weapon to your advantage, letting its momentum empower your strikes. You gain the following benefits:
Ability Score Increase: Increase your Strength score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
Cleave. Immediately after you score a Critical Hit with a Melee Weapon or reduce a creature to 0 Hit Points with one, you can make one attack with the same weapon as a Bonus Action.
Heavy Weapon Mastery. When you hit a creature with a Heavy Weapon as part of the Attack Action on your turn, you can cause the weapon to deal extra damage to the target. The extra damage equals your Proficiency Bonus, and you can deal it only once per turn.
Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes, 2022
Benefit #1: You Strength increases by 1, up to the normal maximum of 20.
A +1 Strength is going to be useful to the overwhelming majority of player builds who will take this feat, which are Fighters and Barbarians, two classes that definitely tend to be more on the Strength side than the Dexterity side of things. Nothing too special but a free ability score improvement is a free core stat improvement, so better to have it than not.
Benefit #2: Immediately after scoring either a Critical Hit, or a hit that reduces a creature’s hit points to 0, you can use your bonus action to make an attack with the same weapon.
Meh. An extra attack is nice, and this gives the option for players not using a light weapon (who already have this unless the 5th Ed rules about attacking with the off-hand have changed) but there’s not a major boost here. There’s also the fact that this is limited. A critical hit will be a 1 in 20 occurrence (or 1 in 10 with some builds where 19s and 20s are crits).
Also getting the killing blow can be unpredictable, not to mention the fact that for martial characters this often does happen with a critical hit, meaning some of these potential additional
Benefit #3: When you hit a creature with a heavy weapon on your turn you can deal extra damage with it equal to your Proficiency Bonus.
Definitely gives a boost to the Claymores and the Battlehammers and other similar weapons since if you use lighter weapons you won’t be getting any benefit from this part of the feat, which means unless you have a good set up with a versatile weapon there’s not a lot of encouragement for using a shield if you’re going with a build that needs this feat.
This added damage with a proficiency bonus takes the place of the -5 hit/+10 damage, and most players I’ve talked to say this feels way more like a major debuff, especially with low and mid-level characters.
How Does Great Weapon Master Feat Measure Up?
This feat is interesting. I know a lot of players who loved making 5th Edition Martial Characters who don’t like the changes at all. One of the hopes with a new edition would be that there would be more versatility in builds but with the changes here you not only need to build a melee character but you MUST build a Strength-based melee character who uses heavy weapons or you won’t get the most out of it.
That’s pretty restrictive but on the other hand if you have this build you get potential for an extra attack via bonus action in certain situations in addition to the proficiency bonus added to damage being a steady thing. There’s no possibility of missing altogether or getting a big hit “all of nothing” gamble but you simply hit harder all the time.
I am not the math genius in the group so I won’t be doing the math – especially since using proficiency means the numbers keep shifting which also means it’s impossible to have a realistic head-to-head comparison, but for players who didn’t like to gamble with missing an attack or like the more consistent and reliable damage this is a great feat.
Not so much for those who rolled well and remember the heavy damage they could inflict with this feat.
Great Weapon Master Feat: DnD One Vs 5E
Preference is going to be a huge part when it comes to comparing the two versions of this feat. If you want a high ceiling and the ability to do just insane damage, then the 5E version is going to feel much better. Especially at higher levels where you will be less likely to miss even with -5 penalty to being able to hit.
Related Article: 5E Great Weapon Master Feat Guide
On the other hand if consistency is more your jam, then the revisions might take out some of the ceiling that this feat used to have, but the consistency of how helpful it can be makes it a better option.
Who Should Take the Great Weapon Master Feat in DnD One?
Fighters and Barbarians are still the two classes that this makes the most sense for. If you’re building a melee Ranger who is designed to dive into groups and go to town it’s worth considering, but not as important as other feats like defensive duelist or dual wielder. However, a little bit extra benefit is something you shouldn’t push off.
And DM rulings on Versatile weapons could make this even more valuable depending on how those rulings affect the wording of various details of this feat and when you get bonuses versus when you don’t.
For a Barbarian or Fighter this is still likely a must-take for most builds, and there are plenty of Paladins who will want to give it a serious look. In very specialized builds it might pop up for Ranger, Warlock, or Cleric though it would likely not be an optimized choice.
DnD One Great Weapon Master Feat Final Grade
To me this is a B to B+. I personally think it’s an interesting take on the mechanic and arguably it’s thematically better in One DnD because it represents always having that extra bonus from mastering a weapon as opposed to having to basically call a shot. Some players are going to love these changes and some will hate them – it will be interesting to see how this plays out over tables in the long run.
Other DnD Articles of Interest
- One DnD Grappler Feat Review
- One DnD Dual Wielder Feat Review
- One DnD Defensive Duelist Feat Review
- One DnD Charger Feat Review
- One DnD Epic Boons Reviewed
- How Do Core Stats Work In D&D?
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.