Which magic weapon deals most damage at each rarity tier? (I am not asking about Artifacts, just normal rarity scale magic items).
For the sake of defining weapon damage:
- Direct expected damage from a hit (not maximum possible damage)
- Damage upon hit, not damage over several rounds (although mentioning weapons that can deal ongoing damage as bonus info is fine)
- Raw damage, unaccounted for resistances, saves and vulnerabilities (expected damage accounting for them for the “average” monster would be a useful bonus as saves and resistance against something like poison can have a big impact)
- Damage from magic weapons that you attack with only, not things like wand of fireball
- Sustainable damage that is applied with every hit, not abilities that can only be used a limited number of times, or limited number of times per day
- Include improved hit rate contribution from pluses to attack assuming the combatant has a +5 ability bonus adding to the resulting damage but no other special effects (like hex, hunter’s mark, etc.); assume that advantage granted by the weapon adds +4 to hit chance, or 20% added damage from converting a miss into a hit
- Assume a critical chance of 5.26%1 (no special classes, feats, advantage or disadvantage), if it is relevant for damage calculations
- Moonblade hacks with multiple prior owners are outside the scope.
1 To make damage calculations comparable, use the expected base damage assuming a hit (without hit chance adjustment for different ACs), and add additional damage from critical hits. As we assume a hit already, and a 1 would always miss, there are only 19/20 possible d20 results to account for for a critical, so use 5.26% chance for that.
You can in addition provide the expected damage against an average AC that gives you a base 65% hit chance (and if you like use increased hit chance on that base from advantage), and use the normal 5% critical chance for that.