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In 4th Edition D&D, Swordmages have a feature called Swordmage Warding, which reads:

While you are conscious and wielding either a light blade or a heavy blade, you maintain a field of magical force around you.

This field provides a +1 bonus to AC, or a +3 bonus if you are wielding a blade in one hand and have your other hand free (not carrying a shield, an off-hand weapon, a two-handed weapon, or anything else).

So, if I have a longsword in my main hand and nothing in my off-hand, I get the +3.

However, longswords are Versatile, which reads:

Versatile weapons are one-handed, but you can use them two-handed. If you do, you deal an extra 1 point of damage when you roll damage for the weapon.

I can't find anything in the Rules Compendium or Player's Handbook about what sort of action switching from a one-handed grip to a two-handed grip is, but I'm assuming it's a free action.

In that case, can I put my off-hand on my sword before attacking on my turn, get the +1 to damage, free my off-hand after the attack, end my turn, and then continue to get +3 to AC on everybody else's turn?

If so, what about when I use my Aegis of Assault Immediate Reaction, which is described as follows:

If your marked target makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target, it takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls. If that attack hits and the marked target is within 10 squares of you, you can use an Immediate reaction to teleport to a square adjacent to the target and make a melee basic attack against it. If no unoccupied space exists adjacent to the target, you can't use this immediate reaction.

Could I use a free action to put my off-hand on the sword before the melee basic, and remove it afterward? Note that the Rules Compendium says that:

A creature can take free actions on its own or anyone else's turn.

This would seem to make using a Greatsword as a Swordmage rather pointless.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Really the weapon you should be using if you're making the best use of Versatile is the Bastard Sword, basically identical stats (+3 1d10) as the greatsword but versatile and 1 handed. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith May 23 '14 at 13:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, that's a good point. You'd have to take a feat for it though, which makes it less attractive. \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon May 23 '14 at 17:29
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  • Yes switching hand is a free action. PHB FAQ:

Q: I wield a longsword. When I change from one hand to two (or viceversa), what type of action is that?
A: Changing the number of hands you are using to hold a weapon can be done as a free action.

  • Yes you can hold it two handed before you attack, and hold it one handed after you attacked.

  • By RAW, Your DM may limit the number of free actions you can take. (PHB & RC)

In certain circumstances, the DM might decide to limit the use of free actions further. For instance, if an adventurer has already used free actions during a particular turn to talk, drop things, and use a class feature, the DM might rule that the adventurer can use no more free actions during that turn.

  • There are some rare swords that is limited to greatsword, such as Wyrmslayer, The Eighth Sword of Tyr, or Soul Sword. (or feats, or class features, but no powers that I can find)

    But apart from these special cases and assuming your DM is not limiting your free actions, I agree there is not much point in using a greatsword.

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