I realize there is the RAI note out there that indicates Polearm Master's opportunity attack is only intended to work with the polearm that you're wielding, but some DMs accept the RAW interpretation which allows casting Eldritch Blast as an opportunity attack if the player has both Polearm Master and War Caster feats, AND is wielding a weapon specified in PAM's description.

Polearms are Two-Handed weapons, but that only applies when attacking with it from what I understand. Does the RAW interpretation of this combo also allow wearing a shield + one handing the polearm at the cost of being unable to attack with said polearm?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused why the question and answers are being downvoted so heavily after the question was answered (or so I thought). Would anyone care to provide constructive criticism of some sort? \$\endgroup\$ – MonopolyLegend Jun 24 '17 at 16:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ It would help if your question clarified why there is a case for them working in such a manner together. Quotes and citations would be very helpful. Saying that an RAI note exists, and then not explaining or referencing it makes it very difficult to answer properly. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Nov 20 '17 at 3:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ No RAW tag = RAW not required, common sense allowed, RAW not enforced. Is that intended?! \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 20 '17 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish Focus on the content rather than the tags (tags are not supposed to be special “magic signals” for how to answer a question; instead, answers are supposed to be on-topic for the content of the question, and tags are just for helping sort and search questions by topic). The [rules-as-written] tag would seem describe the content here (the issue is encountered only within a strict RAW rules interpretation) and could be added, but there's a 5-tag limit and it would have to replace an existing one. Can you think of which tag could be removed as less needed? (I'm drawing a blank.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 20 '17 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd remove Warlock, it is not really essential to this question, is it? \$\endgroup\$ – Patta Nov 20 '17 at 20:53

RAW: Yes, that would work!

  1. You can wield a two-handed weapon in addition to a shield.

Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it

(PHB p.147, emphasis mine)

So you can wield a two-handed weapon correctly, but cannot attack with it, if your other hand is occupied.

Shields. A shield [...] is carried in one hand.

(PHB p.133, emphasis mine)

So, you can carry the shield in one hand, while holding your weapon in the other hand.

  1. The opportunity attack would be triggered

By your definition, you are wielding a weapon specified in the Polearm Master feat. So you would get the opportunity attack, which you cannot perform (due to the shield), but replace by a spell (due to War Caster).

  1. You could cast eldritch blast

You can cast a spell as an OA using the War Caster feat, you have to fulfill the components of the spell. For Eldritch Blast those are verbal (no problem) and somatic, which "you can perform even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands" (PHB, p.170, War Caster feat). You would also have to target all individual beams at the creature, which triggered the AoO!

So, all conditions required for this technique are met, but as you said, you wouldn't be able to use your two-handed weapon!

Unless your two-handed weapon gives you a relevant bonus I would suggest using a Quarterstaff or a magical staff you might find as your weapon; they fulfill the requirements of Polearm Master and you would be able to use them one-handed because Staffs are (unless stated otherwise) quarterstaffs. (DMG, p.140)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Using a quarterstaff would give disadvantage on the blasts as enemies would be within 5 ft (unless I got a third feat, Crossbow Expert). Using an actual polearm would allow the OA to go off at the 10 ft range. The weapon is not intended to be used in this setup. It's both crunchy and silly, but it's for play in a group of munchkin, RAW-only players. \$\endgroup\$ – MonopolyLegend Jun 24 '17 at 0:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a good point about the range. But in principle, it would work either way. I'll leave it in my answer. About crunchy and silly setups: Look at it that way, it basically the same as if you would be a mage with a staff. You wouldn't attack anyone with that staff directly even though it is basically a quarterstaff (p.140, DMG) (hence the example). Your glaive/halbert/pike are thematically just longer, unwieldy, non-magical staffs. Btw. by RAW you could use a magical Staff for Polearm Master (they are quarterstaffs). \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Jun 24 '17 at 0:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please explain me how you want to properly use a stick carrying a metal tip that has a significant portion of the weapon weight at one end properly and have the metal impact the target with one hand. From a physicist and martial artist standpoint, point 1 of this answer is ok: Yes, you can HOLD it, but you can't use a polearm (like a helbard) for you don't use it two handed. Because of this you aren't allowed to use the weapon for an AoO (which is an attack, so any action that is an attack as small lettering does not mean the Attack Action!), so point 2 is sadly invalid. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 20 '17 at 6:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish you only need two hands when you attack with a two handed weapon. You can wield it in one hand. Since the warlock doesn't attack with the weapon, but with a spell I see no problem here. Whether I personally am able to do it shouldn't be relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Nov 20 '17 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MonopolyLegend You can get the 10' range AND the ability to use the weapon if you A) go with the quarterstaff as Thyzer suggests and B) pick Bugbear as your race. \$\endgroup\$ – Pink Sweetener Sep 12 '18 at 18:51

Yes, but not at 10'

From the SRD (emphasis mine):

Reach: This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you attack with it, as well as when determining your reach for opportunity attacks with it.

A polearm only grants 10' reach for attacks made with the weapon. Since you need both hands to attack with the weapon, you cannot attack with the weapon, and your reach is not 10'. The opportunity attack is not triggered until the creature approaches to within 5' (your natural reach).

  • \$\begingroup\$ The opportunity attack would be triggered at 10', though. Even if you do not intend/are not able to attack with the polearm. You have to replace it then with a spell. War Caster: "When a hostile creature's movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack." You have to replace the AoO with the spell when the AoO is triggered, which would be at 10' for a weapon with reach. \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Nov 22 '17 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thyzer I disagree. If you can't attack with the weapon, it isn't adding 5' to your reach, even if you are "wielding" it. Consider the situation without War Caster: a creature moves to engage a polearm master wielding a halberd and a shield in melee. If the creature provoked an AoO moving to 10', the player couldn't take that attack, but if it triggers at 5', the player could (though still not with the halberd). \$\endgroup\$ – starchild Nov 22 '17 at 20:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thyzer said another way, the AoO triggers based on your reach with your melee weapon, even if you use a cantrip instead. If you can't attack with your reach weapon, it can't increase your reach. \$\endgroup\$ – starchild Nov 22 '17 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe it's me, but as far as I know there is an often referenced huge difference between a lower case attack and an uppercase Attack. In this circumstance, even if you do not attack, the Opportunity Attack, as a game term, should be triggered at 10'. It increases the range of the Opportunity Attack rule, not just for the attack triggered by this Opportunity Attack. Correct me if I'm wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Nov 22 '17 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden in the linked question, there is nothing to prevent the character from making an opportunity attack with the weapon at 10'; the character simply chooses to cast a spell instead with the opportunity action. In this case, the character is physically unable to make an attack with the weapon at 10', so no opportunity attack is triggered until the target crosses the threshold at which the character is capable of making that opportunity attack: 5'. \$\endgroup\$ – starchild Mar 1 '19 at 22:33

It doesn't work

You can hold a Halberd in one hand, but you need two to wield it.

Polearm Master requires you to wield the weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You can wield the Halbert, too. The only moment you require two hands is the exact moment when you attack. Also this: twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/530377218493386753 \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Jun 24 '17 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Thyzer Quarterstaff specific answer is quarterstaff specific and doesn't apply to a helbard. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 20 '17 at 19:32

Just a Polearm

If you have improved pact weapon and the Polearm is the pact weapon with focus, then I would allow it with war caster and war caster only. Because you do not need a hand free.

Not having war caster would be a no.

With a shield and a Polearm.

Nope, nope nope. You have to be able to get the Attack of Opportunity and you never get it without two hands on the Polearm.


There is no reason this wouldn't work, however, you would be limited to Verbal only spells as you have no hands available for Somatic and Material/Focus components (except for a cleric with a holy symbol on the shield.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't the War Caster feat remove the Somatic component? \$\endgroup\$ – MonopolyLegend Jun 24 '17 at 0:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't remove it, merely says: "You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands." \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jun 24 '17 at 2:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it removes it in everything but name \$\endgroup\$ – András Jun 24 '17 at 8:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. You cannot perform somatic components if your wrists are bound, but you still could conceivably be holding things. It's a subtle distinction, but it does not remove the component from the spell. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jun 24 '17 at 19:55

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