I was chatting with one of my party mates, and we were debating whether the Sentinel feat allowed me to get an opportunity attack if the enemy is approaching me. The reason I ask this is because I wanted to use a lance, seeing as how the lance gives me a reach of 10 feet.

Because nothing in the wording of the feat says specifically that it has to be an enemy leaving, do I still get that opportunity attack?


1 Answer 1


Not if you only have the Sentinel feat

The Sentinel feat (PHB, p. 169-170) is specific on when it engages:

Creatures provoke opportunity attacks from you even if they take the Disengage action before leaving your reach.


When a creature within 5 feet of you makes an attack against a target other than you (and that target doesn't have this feat), you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature.

In the case you provide of a creature entering your reach, neither of those qualifiers are met. The creature isn't leaving your reach, it is only just entering and the creature isn't in 5' of you and hasn't attacked an ally. Therefore you don't get an opportunity attack upon the creature entering your reach.

The Polearm Master feat does synergize with this, but not with a Lance

The Polearm Master feat (PHB, p. 168) says:

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

This is the feat/clause that let's you take an OA when a creature enters your reach. Without it, you can't do it :(

But there can be only one

It is important to remember that you only get one reaction that refreshes at the start of your next turn.

When you take a reaction, you can't take another one until the start of your next turn. If the reaction interrupts another creature's turn, that creature can continue its turn right after the reaction.

This means that you can either use that reaction and take an opportunity attack when a creature enters your reach (via Polearm Master) or use it when leave your reach (via Sentinel). You can't use both, so you'll have to decide if it is better to take it when the creature is coming or going.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does the "before leaving your reach" clause in Sentinel undermine this synergy? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2019 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ huh, that's actually odd to me. Because isn't a lance just like a longer spear? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2019 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson No, not unless they enter and leave. Then you gotta pick when you want to use your reaction :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 22, 2019 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ well that's unfortunate, but thank you for the help! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2019 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WayTooZoned Mechanically in 5e, the spear and lance are very different. Lance has special properties that may have been enough to separate it out. And with the polearm, it's kinda weird to imagine hitting with the other end of the lance given the way it's typically wielded. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 22, 2019 at 19:41

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