I have polearm mastery and a reach weapon. I am walking towards an enemy.

Polearm mastery says that I get an opportunity attack when a creature "enters my reach." It does not specify that said creature has to enter my reach using its own movement, to my knowledge. Is "enters your reach" defined relative to you or defined relative to the playing field? Is a stationary creature capable of entering one's reach? For the "specific beats general" purposes of polearm mastery, must a creature use its movement to trigger an OA?


3 Answers 3


From the section on opportunity attacks:

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature. The attack interrupts the provoking creature’s movement, occurring right before the creature leaves your reach.

"Creature moves", "provoking creature", and "interrupts the provoking creature's movement", all support the position that the intent of opportunity attacks is to react to another creature's movement, not your own. This is further clarified in the subsequent paragraph to mean "voluntary movement".

If the intent of Polearm Master was to subvert the general rule with a specific one, it would be clearly stated, as in "This is an exception to the general rule on opportunity attacks, in that it does not require movement on the part of the target". The phrases "enters your reach" and "moves into your reach" are--barring any explicit wording to the contrary, pretty clearly synonymous. A relative movement interpretation does not match anything else in the book, unless it is clearly described as such.

In short, "Enter" is an active verb, and had Polearm Mastery" been intended to break of the general rule, it would certainly have been pointed out by the designers in errata, interviews, tweets or Sage Advice.

In the absence of anything like that, the general rule interpretation should apply.

To solidly support this, user Korvin Starmast has kindly supplied definitive clarification:

Sage Advice Compendium, page 8:

Does Polearm Master let me make an opportunity attack against a target that is being forced to approach me? A creature doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack if it is moved without the use of its movement, its action, or its reaction"


Creatures only provoke opportunity attacks on willing movement.

As a result of this, you cannot use relative motion to provoke an opportunity attack.

You also don’t provoke an opportunity attack when you Teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your Movement, action, or reaction. For example, you don’t provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe’s reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy.

Page 195 of the Player's Handbook.

Citation added. Since the target isn't using their Movement, Action, or Reaction, they don't provoke.


From the PHB feats.

Polearm Master

You can keep your enemies at bay with reach weapons.

You gain the following benefits:

  • When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and the attack deals bludgeoning damage.
  • While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

You keep your enemies at bay means to keep them at a distance, or prevent them from getting close.
Other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach seems to clearly state that it is provoked by the OTHER creatures doing something. In this case, entering your reach.


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