I plan on creating a Hexblade warlock. I want to use a two-handed weapon by level 3 and until then a longsword. I won't use a shield. So if I cast a spell without any material components, I won't have any problems.

But what if I want to cast spells with material components?

Do I really need Improved Pact Weapon? Or could I just grab my spellcasting focus with my one free hand and cast it? Since one has a free interaction, grabbing a spellcasting focus would be easier, or am I not seeing something?

So my actual question is: Do I need Improved Pact weapon, to cast spells with material components? Or can I just grab my spellcasting focus and cast those spells in the same turn?


2 Answers 2


You can still cast spells while holding a Two-Handed Weapon

When you look at the statblock for most two-handed weapons (I'll use a Greatsword as an example since it's the typical two-handed weapon), the point for Two-Handed has the following written, emphasis mine:

This weapon requires two hands to use. This property is relevant only when you attack with the weapon, not when you simply hold it.

The consequence of this is that if you're casting a spell this turn (which will usually mean you won't be attacking this turn), you only need to hold onto the sword with one hand while you use your free hand to handle the material + somatic components—which can be done with the same hand, as specified in the Player's Handbook where Spellcasting is described, under the section about Spell Components:

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.

So why does Improved Pact Weapon Invocation give the ability for a weapon to be used as a spellcasting focus?

Given everything I've mentioned so far, it might seem like that feature of the Invocation is redundant. But it does have an important function: for two-weapon fighting.

If a player is holding two weapons, one in each hand, and doesn't have this feature, then attempting to cast a spell is not possible without dropping the second weapon and grabbing the focus, because doing more than that (putting it away + grabbing the focus, for example) requires using the Use an Object Action.

Being able to use the weapon itself as a focus solves that issue, by negating the need to put any weapon away.

Of course, the invocation is still good regardless, because it gives +1/+1 to any weapon that doesn't already have such bonuses. But that is at least one situation where that particular feature of the Invocation is important.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This also means you can't be disarmed of your spell focus, as you can always summon your pact weapon at will. Any other caster could end up unable to cast many of their spells due to lack of components or focus. This also helps in all sorts of situations where one hand is occupied - climbing a ladder, swinging on a rope, carrying an object, dismemberment, Q hanging over a pit, etc. It's not an every day thing maybe, but when you need it it's a major boon. \$\endgroup\$
    – zeel
    Dec 14, 2019 at 4:08

On page 147 the Two Handed property of the Two Handed Sword states

Two Handed This weapon requires two hands to use.

You only need to have two hands on the weapons if you intend to attack with it or use it as part of a task. Otherwise you can keep gripping it with one hand and use the other hand for spell casting.

From Material Components on page 203

A spellcaster must have a hand free to access these components, but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components.

See this answer for further explanation in regards to somatic components of spells and two handed weapons. Note the part about reloading a crossbow which is a similar situation for a different action.


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