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I'm curious about the use of a paladin's Divine Smite. Does a player need to announce they are using it before they make the attack roll?

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Starting at 2nd level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage.

No, you do not have to announce it before attacking, it says "when you hit" so you get to choose whether or not to use it when you hit.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is important, because you don't expend the spell slot until after you know it hit. Paladins don't get a huge number of spell slots, and declaring before the attack would risk wasting them. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Feb 26 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another advantage is that you know if you have critically hit or not. Gotta double all those sweet D8's \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Feb 26 at 12:28

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