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For the purpose of this question, assume "two weapons" to include "a one-handed weapon and a shield".

Compared to other spellcasters, Eldritch Knights are sort of at a disadvantage when it comes to achieving dual-wielding and the like, as they generally cannot use spellcasting foci (except when using magic items such as a Ruby of the War Mage). Thus, they normally seem to require a free hand for casting spells with components other than verbal ones. For comparison, a wizard could wield a Staff of Power, which - due to being a staff - counts as an arcane focus and thus solves the issue of noncostly material components, but it can also be used as a +2 quarterstaff.

For an EK trying to trivialize somatic components, Warcaster is the obvious choice (no difference to other spellcasters in this regard), and the requirement of a free hand for material components (without a GP cost) can be avoided with a Ruby of the War Mage. However, the former requires spending a feat (even though Warcaster is a pretty good feat for EKs anyway, especially considering that fighters get more ASIs than the average class), and the latter blocks an attunement slot and doesn't work for costly material components. Plus, if you happen to die in a battle, your attunements end, even if you get Revivified right away (although that's probably a very rare or even legendary problem ^^).

Is there a cheaper way to get around the issue? For the purpose of defining "expensive", please consider this order (the higher up on the list, the more expensive):

  1. Multiclassing (and requiring three multiclass levels is obviously worse than requiring one)
  2. Requiring additional actions
  3. Feats
  4. Attunement Slots
  5. Requiring additional bonus actions
  6. Choosing specific (sub-)class options, such as a Fighting Style.
  7. Magic Items without attunement
  8. Ingame time (e.g. downtime training)
  9. Requiring your object interaction
  10. Money

I'm aware of other questions on almost the same topic, namely this one (warlock-focused or at best generic), this one (technically answers the issue, but some GMs might consider dropping and picking your weapon up cheesy, plus there are downsides and it only works with Sage Advice rulings), as well as this one (answers claim it's not an issue, which is not true IMHO - for example, Chromatic Orb, Aganazzar's Scorcher or Fireball all have material components).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ On your last sentence, the material component for Booming Blade and Green Flame Blade is "a weapon", which is something you are already holding in your hand. There is no complication for those spells. \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Jan 20 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BBeast you're right, my bad. Still, Chromatic Orb, Aganazzar's Scorcher, Shatter, Fireball, or Lightning Bolt are all available to EKs and do require material components. I suppose it's not a whole lot of spells, but especially Fireball is a spell you likely wouldn't want to miss out on (even if you only get it at level 13). Anyway, my point is, it's still not a non-issue, BB/GFB were just the first examples I found. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 20 at 1:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ How much do you care about casting spells outside your turn (e.g. shield)? \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Jan 20 at 6:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BBeast hmm, fair objection. I didn't consider that issue, but it seems Shield does indeed require somatic components and thus couldn't be cast off-turn without Warcaster (readied spells are not really an issue for me, readying anything but cantrips is usually a bad idea). I'm generally really starting to dislike the entire components system, it feels designed really badly and unintuitively. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 20 at 8:23
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You only need a free object interaction and a bonus action.

Eldritch Knights have the comfortable benefit of the Weapon Bond feature, which states (among other things):

If it is on the same plane of existence, you can summon that weapon as a bonus action on your turn, causing it to teleport instantly to your hand.

This opens up a modified variant of the solution discussed here, while both a) feeling less cheesy and b) avoiding the downsides of the approach - albeit at the cost of a bonus action and only being available to Eldritch Knights.

Namely, the linked question lists the following downsides:

  • dropped objects can be picked up with a readied action
  • dropped item can be targeted with spells because it's not worn or carried
  • can't easily pick up a dropped weapon if you're flying or above lava

As an EK, you can thus choose the following course of action:

  1. Stow your weapon, which uses your free object interaction
  2. Cast the desired spell; according to PHB p. 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"), you can use your now-free hand for both the material and somatic components
  3. Summon your sheathed weapon using the bonus action granted by the Weapon Bond feature

Since you're sheathing your weapon, it's not dropped (and thus can't be picked up with a readied action), it's still carried on your body and thus can't be targeted directly by spells, and it won't fall to the ground or into hazardous terrain if you're flying.


Unfortunately, this approach won't work with some of an Eldritch Knight's class features, such as War Magic and Improved War Magic - both of which require your bonus action. IMHO, this is a pretty major flaw in the subclasses' design, and as a DM, I'd probably allow my players to sheath and draw their weapon with the action economy of dropping and sheathing it.

Regardless, the solution above is RAW-foolproof and doesn't require Sage Advice, which is necessary for the dropping-and-picking-up-trick, as - to my knowledge - the normal rules don't describe dropping a weapon as being 100% free.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch feel free to post another answer ;) Of course, dropping your weapon for free and picking it up as an object interaction is often probably more efficient, but I feel like that's cheesy, and it may not work depending on the DM. Warcaster + Ruby also works, but not for components with a GP cost, and I'd consider a feat + and attunement slot more expensive than a bonus action. Although I suppose that depends on the build. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 19 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can skip the feat by noting that the hand holding the spellcasting focus (weapon with the Ruby) "can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components." (PHB 203) But I'd agree that an attunement slot is still a fairly steep cost (and there's no guarantee your GM will let you find/buy a Ruby), and it won't work with chromatic orb. \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Jan 20 at 6:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BBeast pretty sure that's now how it's intended. The purpose of that sentence is likely to allow you to cast spells with somatic and material components without needing two free hands, but I'm 99% sure it's not supposed to let you cast somatic components with the same hand that's wielding a spellcasting focus. Otherwise, what would be the point of the clause in Warcaster? \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 20 at 8:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ The feat is useful when your weapon(s) are not valid spellcasting foci, which is most of the time. The sentence suggests (to me) that you can satisfy somatic components by waving your wand/staff/components/focus. \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Jan 20 at 22:18

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