There are several options available for two-handed weapons in 4e.

Ignoring build, is there a qualified best option? Analysis in each category would be welcome. What are the best options for Simple Melee, Military Melee and Superior weapons?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This largely depends on the class and build, because the true value of a weapon's damage often lies in the feats and enchantments that can be taken for it. More information is needed about your situation, otherwise you'll get a generic answer which disregards such variables, meaning it may not be true in any particular circumstance. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 24 '13 at 0:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ /agree with BESW. Fullblade may have the nicest numbers, but most optimizers prefer to use a gouge because it has slightly better damage (8 average versus the fullblade's 6.5), and the combined spear + axe support makes it more versatile despite only having a +2 proficiency bonus, especially if you're optimizing around charging. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 24 '13 at 1:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site, Eldest. Read our FAQ. It's generally a good idea to wait at least a day for new answers to come in before accepting them, so as to not discourage people. If you can tell us more about your specific circumstances, we'll be able to help you more. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 24 '13 at 1:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've taken a crack at editing this. Brian's answer makes this worth saving. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Feb 25 '13 at 18:22

The best two handed weapon not taking into consideration build and in terms of damage die and weapon proficiency bonus would probably be the Full Blade from the Adventurer's Vault. With +3 proficiency bonus and 1d12 damage I'm pretty sure it has the highest numbers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Easily" the best is a bold claim. What weapon is best for any given character depends on a wide variety of things. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 24 '13 at 1:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ True, but the question was "in terms of weapon proficiency bonus and damage" there is no mention of a build or any other details. \$\endgroup\$ – Antonio Feb 24 '13 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the fullblade have any equivalent in real history or is it purely for the game? It seems to be a variation of a greatsword, but a variation that probably never saw use. \$\endgroup\$ – TimothyAWiseman Feb 24 '13 at 1:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you google fullblade you get D&D and other RPGs so I think it would be safe to assume that it is purely for the game. It's still awesome. \$\endgroup\$ – Antonio Feb 24 '13 at 1:31

It depends on intention and synergy from feats. Looking at only the weapons themselves, the Execution Axe has a .075 DPR increase over the Mordenkrad. That's not much. Considering common magical items and feats, the Gouge is best from a whole-character point of view.

First, let's look at the superior weapons available to us that are two-handed and interesting:

  • Execution Axe: +2/1d12, brutal 2 high crit, axe
    • DPR with +0 strength, versus a level 1 block of tofu with AC 15:
    • .35*(5.5+2)+.05*(12+5.5+2)=3.6 DPR.
  • Mordenkrad: +2/2d6: brutal 1, hammer
    • DPR with +0 strength, versus a level 1 block of tofu with AC 15:
    • .35*(4*2)+.05*(12)=3.4 DPR.
  • Fullblade: +3/1d12, high crit, heavy blade
    • DPR with +0 strength, versus a level 1 block of tofu with AC 15:
    • .4*(6.5)+.05*(12+6.5)=3.525 DPR.
  • Gouge: +2/2d6: brutal 1, axe and spear.
    • As Mordenkrad.

Statistically speaking, these are all functionally equivalent without looking at magic item or feat synergy.

Generally the only builds that care about big weapons are focused on charging, and at higher levels the choice of weapon is increasingly constrained by the specific build of the character: higher level chargers will have their choice of weapon dictated by their feats, class features, and magical items. This means that it's only at relatively low levels that a weapon's damage and proficiency bonus are significant considerations.

Most classes have feats and class features that guide towards a specific weapon group. Clearly, this is setting aside plot-relevant choices. Beyond that, most characters' damage comes from the static modifiers added on top of the attack instead of the weapon itself.

The Mordenkrad has the absolutely exceptional Avalanche Hammer which just adds an extra 1[W] on top when you charge.

The Gouge has Surprising Charge (feat), Spear Expertise (bonus on damage when charging) and Vanguard weapon, for a total of an extra 1[W]+1+1d8 on a charge.

The Execution Axe has a not particularly useful expertise (there are some edge cases, but they don't matter statistically speaking) and Vanguard weapon.

And the fullblade has... vanguard weapon. Technically, the increase in accuracy can be claimed to be worth the decrease in overall damage due to the fact that you've got extra stuff on your powers that occur, but that is a function of specific optimization, not general "what's the best weapon."

  • \$\begingroup\$ A great analysis! You might also look into the effects that paragon-tier weapon-type feats (Hammer Rhythm, etc) have. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 24 '13 at 1:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Most every superior weapon has a build that loves it and cuddles it and calls it George. That is outside the scope of this question though. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 24 '13 at 1:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to know how you come to your numbers. I am unfamiliar with statistical probabilities of dice rolls and therefore an unable to comprehend your formulas. \$\endgroup\$ – straef Feb 25 '13 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @b33f3r I summarize the dpr formula here: rpg.stackexchange.com/a/5701/760 If you want more details, I encourage you to post a question about it, as it is a real question with a real answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 25 '13 at 23:28

Fullblade has excellent numbers, but i find the Mordenkrad (Cleric here) was worth the feat for higher minimum damage plus the 'brutal' advantage. The +2 proficiency bonus is average indeed, but as a strength build battle cleric it works out better for me, especially combined with 'Strength of many' and adjacent to my two defender allies (Fighter/Paladin). My friend uses the Ex. Axe and sings it's praises, but i really do think the Mordenkrad is the better superior.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is somewhat insightful, it's not really the kind of analysis this question is looking for. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Mar 10 '14 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although to be fair, the question itself is pretty poor \$\endgroup\$ – Dakeyras Mar 10 '14 at 19:04

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