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The lance is unique among weapons with similar damage dice by having a 10-ft. reach and being one-handed when mounted. But the 10-ft. reach comes with disadvantage when your target is within 5 feet, which makes it a little worse than other weapons.

The trouble I see is that you're regularly going to be suffering that disadvantage. If you're a paladin on a charging horse, your first attack is a 10-ft. reach attack with one hand, but your opponent will instantly get closer to you after your first attack, making the second attack always from 5 feet and therefore with disadvantage.

I don't see this a very good.

Under what circumstances do the unique benefits of the lance outweigh its unique drawbacks? What tactics maximize those circumstances?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Question reopened; the comments discussing it have been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 22 '17 at 23:08
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During a cavalry charge, the mounted combatant will strike its target and keep on riding.

This works in D&D too.

The controlled mount can dash for generally > 100' of movement (depending on the mount), and the rider can attack with the lance any time during that movement. Reach allows the rider to do so without provoking an attack of opportunity from the target, and a sufficiently fast mount can prevent the target from closing to melee on its own turn as well.

If the target does somehow manage to close to melee, on the rider's next turn the mount can disengage to move its full speed away from the target without provoking an opportunity attack. The rider can safely attack when it is precisely 10' away from the target during this movement. This should put the rider outside the target's reach, ready for another charge.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer could stand to be quite a bit longer, explaining in some detail each step of your proposed (and correctly-interpreted) efficient cavalry charge. Comments make it seem like OP is unclear/confused about a number of things, and a verbose explanation might help set them straight. Or maybe I'm crazy--who knows!? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Dec 21 '17 at 21:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL Go ahead and add your own, I'll upvote :) \$\endgroup\$ – starchild Dec 21 '17 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can't do while the question is on hold, unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Dec 22 '17 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ The lance is used specifically for this situation. If an enemy closed to within 5ft I'd drop the lance and draw a sword or other weapon or grapple them or do anything but attack with the lance. \$\endgroup\$ – C Anderson Dec 22 '17 at 22:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL FYI, question is open again. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 22 '17 at 23:10

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