I often see Absorb Elements (AE) mentioned as a useful spell for an Eldritch Knight (EK), because it gives you temporary resistance to one type of damage and lets you add that type of damage to your next melee attack.
However, it has somatic components, which require a free hand to perform. With many spells this isn't a problem, since you can drop or stow your weapon, cast, and then use your bonus action for the EK Weapon Bond feature to resummon it. But since AE is a reaction, that doesn't seem to work, although I might be wrong. So it seems as though you have to preemptively stow your weapon at the end of your turn if you think you might need to use AE, which then becomes a problem if what you actually end up needing your reaction for is an opportunity attack.
Of course, this all goes away at 4th level when you can take War Caster as a feat, which lets you cast without a free hand for somatic components.
- Am I wrong? i.e. is it possible to drop your sword as part of your reaction before casting AE?
- If not, can a 3rd level EK usefully use AE, or should you wait until 4th level to take that spell?