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This question already has an answer here:

Do attacks without proficiency have disadvantage or do they just use the modifier for the weapon? ie. dex or str

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marked as duplicate by Ben, mxyzplk Oct 22 '18 at 3:23

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With weapons and weapon attack rolls, not having proficiency simply means you do not add the proficiency bonus associated with usual attack rolls. The primary reference to proficiency with respect to attack rolls appears as such in the Player's Handbook:

Proficiency Bonus. You add your proficiency bonus to your attack roll when you attack using a weapon with which you have proficiency, as well as when you attack with a spell.

Note that there is no reference to the user gaining advantage or disadvantage as a result of having or not having proficiency.

You may be confusing this rule with the rule for Armor, where not having proficiency in a given armor type does confer disadvantage. As written in the Player's Handbook:

Armor Proficiency. Anyone can put on a suit of armor or strap a shield to an arm. Only those proficient in the armor's use know how to wear it effectively, however.
Your class gives you proficiency with certain types of armor. If you wear armor that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can't cast spells.

But like I said, weapon proficiency doesn't affect advantage or disadvantage.

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No, attacks without proficiency do not have disadvantage

All they lack is the addition of the proficiency bonus to the attack roll.

Example: I am a level 2 wizard with a strength of 12. That ability modifier bonus is +1 to melee attacks.

  1. I attack with a long sword, a weapon with which I am not proficient.

    My attack roll is 1d20 +1 (For the Str mod).

  2. I attack with a dagger, a weapon with which I am proficient.

    My attack roll is 1d20 +1 +2 (proficiency bonus added).

Ref: (PHB p. 194 / Basic Rules p. 73)

Attack Rolls
To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. {snip}
Modifiers to the Roll
When a character makes an attack roll, the two most common modifiers to the roll are an ability modifier and the character’s proficiency bonus. {snip}
Ability Modifier.
The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack is Strength {snip}
Proficiency Bonus.
You add your proficiency bonus to your attack roll when you attack using a weapon with which you have proficiency, as well as when you attack with a spell.

If I have an intelligence of 16 (Mod +3) and use a firebolt, my attack roll is 1d20 +3 +2. The wizard is proficient with spell attacks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You could also reinforce the fact that both weapons deal 1dX+1 damage because, unlike the common mistake, proficiency doesn't get added to damage. \$\endgroup\$ – vonBoomslang Oct 17 '18 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vonBoomslang You are correct, although that might be a little out of scope for the question as asked: it is aimed as attacks (advantage / disadvantage) rather than damage. Neither advantage nor disadvantage impact damage via damage die roll modifications; their impact on damage is "did you hit, or not?" \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 17 '18 at 11:30

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