When using the Warcaster feat, if you are using two weapons or a weapon and a shield in both hands, are you able to also reach for and use your spellcasting focus to satisfy material component requirements? I know Warcaster allows you to use spells' somatic components while still wielding weapons or shields in both hands, but does it also allow you to access your spellcasting focus or component pouch in order to meet the material components of said spells?

War Caster

Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell You have practiced casting spells in the midst of combat, learning techniques that grant you the following benefits:

• You have advantage on Constitution saving throws that you make to maintain your concentration on a spell when you take damage.

• You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.

• 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. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.

I'm sure this question has been asked and answered before many times, in fact, I've found a few possible answers to this question, but alas, I'm still left a tad confused to what the exact capabilities and limitations are left for the player while taking the War Caster feat under these conditions.


2 Answers 2


No, the War Caster feat does not allow you interact with a spellcasting focus with a full hand, only complete the somatic component of a spell with one. The second bullet of the feat makes the character skilled enough to complete the somatic component of a spell in the heat of combat without having to stow a weapon or shield first.

Page 203 of the 5E PHB, under Material (Components) reads:

A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell's material components - or to hold a spellcasting focus - but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.

War Caster does not free your hand; it allows you to complete the somatic component of a spell while anything is in it, not just your focus. You must somehow interact with your focus (or the material components) to complete the material component of a spell that requires one, regardless of which hand does the somatics.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, will hold out to give others a chance to answer, thank you! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2017 at 9:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds good; I'll edit my answer for clarity and brevity. Happy to help! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2017 at 9:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ War Casters tend to combine their Focus with their weapon or shield so this may not actually be an issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – nwp
    Jul 14, 2017 at 9:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with that; my DM allowed me to use my quarterstaff as a 'staff' focus. However, the question is relevant because if you're not using a focus, you need a free hand to interact with the material components of a spell, even if you have the War Caster feat. Characters who use component pouches can be War Casters. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 14, 2017 at 9:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, Xanather's Guide to Everything has a low power magical item, stone/ruby, and when added to a weapon turns it into a magic focus. (Requires attunement). Not sure if you want to add this to your answer. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2018 at 12:32

It sadly depends on Class, very un-5e.

Paladins and Clerics, (follow me here!) - IF their shield is their Focus - AND the spell has somatic components

they can use the shield hand (even though its full) to satisfy the somatic components.

Source - http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/sage-advice/rules-spellcasting

Another example: a cleric’s holy symbol is emblazoned on her shield. She likes to wade into melee combat with a mace in one hand and a shield in the other. She uses the holy symbol as her spellcasting focus, so she needs to have the shield in hand when she casts a cleric spell that has a material component. If the spell, such as aid, also has a somatic component, she can perform that component with the shield hand and keep holding the mace in the other.

War Caster still benefits them if their shield isnt their Focus, but this is an odd exception (imo)

It makes sense if you think of it as, at the moment of casting, the off hand is holding a holy symbol that just happens to be shaped like a shield. And the Rules state that a hand being used for material can also do Somatic.

as soon as the spell is cast, the shield-shaped holy symbol returns to being a Shield.

Eldritch Knights get the short straw as they cant benefit from any of this.


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