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In DnD 4e, I wield a Glaive with Heavy Blade Opportunity and Polearm Gamble.

If my defender ally slides an enemy adjacent to me on his turn, can I use an at-will attack power on the enemy?

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Welcome to the site! :) – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 11 '12 at 23:28

5 Answers 5


Argument for yes:

Polearm Gamble:

Benefit: When a nonadjacent enemy enters a square adjacent to you, you can make an opportunity attack with a polearm against that enemy, but you grant combat advantage to that enemy until the end of the enemy’s turn.

It does not, like other powers, indicate "on their turn." Furthermore, the natural impossibility of taking opportunity actions on your own turn prevents this power from triggering from your own forced movement.

Furthermore, the enemy must be non-adjacent on the move (defined as leaving 1 square for another, not the move total), so if the enemy starts adjacent to you, a slide of 2 squares is necessary for Polearm gamble to trigger.

Argument for No:


The rules say no OA's are provoked by forced movement, and this was meant to include PG and/or it would be an unintended side effect to allow this to function like this.

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Polearm Gamble could be expanded into a power card that would look like this:

Opportunity Action
Trigger: A nonadjacent enemy enters a square adjacent to you
Effect: You take an opportunity attack against that enemy and grant that enemy combat advantage until the end of its turn.

Rules Compendium p.200 states:

enter a square: Move into a square on the battle grid by any means, whether willingly or unwillingly.

Rules Compendium p.212 states:

No Opportunity Actions Triggered: When a target is pulled, pushed, or slid, it does not trigger opportunity actions, such as opportunity attacks, that are triggered by the movement.

In this case, Polearm Gamble's trigger condition is based on the keyword "enter", which is defined as a type of movement. This means that the No OA rule applies, because the Polearm Gamble OA is triggered by movement.

With that in mind, Pureferret does make a valid point that players have come up with an interesting teamwork strategy; the DM should certainly consider allowing the opportunity attack as a house rule if it makes the game more fun for everyone involved.

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I like this. Looking at your "power card style" write up of Polearm Gamble, it seems to me that the key is that you are designating it as an opportunity action, yes? Which is interesting. We know from other rulings that things described as being triggered are immediate reactions unless the effect requires that the effect be an interrupt. This would imply a further clarification that undefined effects that when triggered allow opportunity actions are opportunity actions. Which sounds sensible. – Simon Withers Jun 2 '12 at 2:09
It is worthwhile to consider the difference between opportunity and immediate actions in this case. The feat itself specifies an opportunity attack, which suggests the feat can trigger multiple times per round, once per creature; thus specifying the "power card" as an Immediate Reaction, while appropriate to reacting to the "enter" movement that triggers the power, would limit its use to once per round (as only one immediate action can be taken per round). My main goal with the "power card style" was to clearly specify the triggering condition for rules analysis. – Soulrift Jun 2 '12 at 2:27
@SimonWithers the text of the feat makes it an opportunity action, not his writeup. The fact that it's an opportunity action supports the idea that force movement can't provoke it, force movement clearly states that it does not provoke opportunity actions ever. – wax eagle Feb 12 '13 at 21:15


As Brian states, this is not 100% cut and dried. However I believe we can reason our way to the likely true answer.

The Rules Compendium, page 29 gives us Two Principles to Keep in Mind and number 1 is Specific Beats General. Therefore it would be easy to stop there and decide that Polearm Gamble is clearly allowing an exception to the general rule of No OA's during forced movement, but I don't believe that is the case.

Polearm Gamble is clearly allowing an exception, but what exception is that?

  1. You can now OA creatures that move from 2 squares away to adjacent as if you had threatening reach
  2. You can now OA creatures that move from 2 squares away to 1 no matter what form of movement they use, including forced movement, shifting and teleporting.

If the wizards team had wanted to make Polearm Gamble a strong feat they could have just said it granted Threatening Reach 2 (or perhaps +1 your normal reach). But they don't, clearly they wanted to limit it to something less. You aren't allowed

  • to take an OA against an opponent using a ranged attack at range 2
  • to take an OA against an opponent using an area attack at range 2
  • to take an OA against a creature moving away from you at range 2
  • to take an OA against a creature crawling at range 2 (as long as it doesn't come closer)

Looking at all of that, I find it hard to believe that it was meant to allow you to take OA's against shifting and creatures undergoing forced movement. Any other power that allows OA's against shifting creatures specifically says so.

Polearm Gamble reads like a power that was meant to be less than threatening reach, not more.

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D&D is based on broad rules, with many exceptions. Polearm Gamble uses deliberate arduous wording depicting that any enemy not adjacent who enters, not moves, into a square adjacent draws an OA.

DMs can houserule it not to if they wish. But as written, OAs are granted.

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I disagree. They've used the word "enter" before in other cases without it carrying that connotation. If they had intended it to specifically override the general rule, all they had to do was add "even if that movement would not normally trigger opportunity actions" to it. In the absence of something specifying that, nothing in this overrides the general rule of forced movement not triggering opportunity actions. – Oblivious Sage Feb 12 '13 at 16:27


As Brian states, it's in the rules for Polearm gamble, and forced movement OA's are only forbidden for movement away from the attacker. In this case the specific ruling outweighs the general.

The more important thing however is that two PCs have come up with a strategy that works using teamwork, which is something that should always be encouraged. If it proves too powerful it shouldn't be nerfed by the rules, but by the enemy wising up and being more tactical themselves.

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PHB pg 285 clearly states that forced movement generates no OAs or Opportunity actions, regardless of the direction of movement – Xphile Jun 3 '12 at 4:35
As ever with D&D the specific, outrules the general. This is just my interpretation in light of that. – Pureferret Jun 3 '12 at 8:04
Pureferret Can you please give a reference for the assertion "forced movement OA's are only forbidden for movement away from the attacker", as I believe @Xphile is correct that direction of movement has no bearing – SteveC Aug 16 at 16:15
@stevec not sure where I got that reference from. I don't even have my 4e books anymore. Sorry. – Pureferret Aug 16 at 17:23

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