The Savage Attacker feat states (PHB p169):

Once per turn when you roll damage for a melee weapon attack, you can reroll the weapon's damage dice and use either total.

The Great Weapon Fighting style stats (PHB p72):

When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2.

How do these interact?

There's a few possibilities that come to mind, but I'm not sure which is the correct interpretation, if any:

  1. They're mutually exclusive, you can only apply the effects of one of the two on any given attack.

  2. If you use GWF before SA, you cannot use SA. You can apply GWF after SA, but only to one of the rolls. This is based on the wording for GWF "must use the new roll."

    1. You're stuck with the results of the roll you applied GWF to.

    2. You can pick either of the rolls after applying GWF to one of them.

  3. You can use both on the same attack, but GWF only applies to the original roll, not the reroll granted by SA.

  4. You can use both on the same attack, but you have to choose one of the rolls to apply GWF to, it can't be both.

  5. You can use both on the same attack, and GWF can be used on both the original roll and the SA reroll.


4 Answers 4


The answer is option 5:

After rerolling any 1s or 2s (each die only once) you can decide to use SA and still use GWF on the new roll because unlike SA it doesn't have the once per turn restriction.

Here's the sage advice link with Jeremy Crawford's response on twitter:

If you use Savage Attacker with Great Weapon Fighting, the latter lets you reroll 1s and 2s in both rolls.

While not specified as such, I believe the wording is clear enough to conclude this:

(Keep in mind this may not be how the mechanics work in any other situation, I'm simply giving an example to make it easier to understand)

GWF affects seperate dice before checking the total, while SA affects the roll on the whole. You can think of these as phases.

  1. Rolling the dice.
  2. Checking the total.

GWF during 1, if you decide to use SA during 2 then it's back to 1 and you can use GWF again and choose which total you want to go with.

We can reach the same conclusion with the "specific trumps general" rule. This works for the order of things as well. Affecting seperate dice is more specific than affecting the whole roll so GWF activates first.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer as it provides some reasoning for why it would be the correct interpretation. This and Protonflux's comment have me leaning towards number 5. Have a +1, but I'm going to hold off on accepting for now, in case someone comes along with an answer referencing something relevant from the books or the designers. \$\endgroup\$
    – 8bittree
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 13:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @8bittree Found this SageAdvice page with the Jeremy Crawford's quote. \$\endgroup\$
    – FenrirG
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 13:11

"when you roll damage for a melee weapon attack" means after all the dice have clattered to a stop including any rerolls from Great Weapon Fighting (or Halfling Luck, or Lucky etc.) - that is the "roll" for Savage Attacker.

If you choose to to use Savage attacker, you resolve the roll in exactly the same way - which may include rerolls - that is the "reroll" for Savage Attacker.

Then you choose to use the "roll" or the "reroll".

This is your option 5.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with this answer, but do you have any official sources that back up this interpretation? \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 8:41
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @Marq the rules themselves clearly state it and don't need any further official source. The rules in D&D 5e mean exactly what they say and in this case there is no contradiction. The important bit is not Savage Attacker, it is GWF which says "When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack...", i.e. it does not specify or exclude any dice you roll, you do it for any damage die you roll, even if you never apply it because it gets replaced. \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 9:53
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that it's option 5, but I would say that the 5e rules are not specific that there's a difference between rolling a weapon damage die and rolling for damage. These terms are not defined by 5e rules. I say it is player's/table's/DM's choice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bacon Bits
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 0:23

This will always be a GM call, but I would apply SA first, let them make the two rolls and pick the one they want, and then the GWF, where they re-roll any 1's or 2's from whichever roll they picked, and are stuck with that final result. So option 4.


I had to chime in here even though it's been a while. No one has made the glaring point that GWF clearly states that you MUST use the reroll. If you use SA second, then you're violating GWF. Using GWF, SA, and GWF again is just wrong. SA would have to go first followed by 1 GWF use. But I would agree with Jeremy Crawford that GWF lets you reroll 1's and 2's in both SA rolls. I guess I don't fully agree with any option presented by the OP.

BTW, there's also conflicting ways to determine SA's final outcome.

  1. You roll 2d6 twice, then add the highest number from dice 1 and the highest from dice 2. You have to keep track of dice 1 and 2 during the process. A 6 and 5 on roll 1 and a 4 and 3 on roll 2 means you keep the 6 and 4. You toss the 5 and 3.
  2. The highest total of the 2 rolls is the winner. If you roll a 6 and an 8. You then use the 8. Option 2 would mean you would want to reroll every time unless you max on roll 1.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are not conflicting ways to determine SA's final outcome. You can "use either total": that is, the total from the initial roll, or the total from the full re-roll. There's nothing in the rule that allows you to pick-and-choose individual dice values from across the rolls to add them together—particularly since, if you did pick-and-choose, there would be more than two possible totals (4 for 2dX, 8 for 3dX, etc.). If it's more than two, it's not "either". \$\endgroup\$
    – MJ713
    Commented Apr 10 at 4:49

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