The Champion's (a Fighter Archetype) "Improved Critical" feature says that he can score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20. However, the vicious Weapon enchantment specifically says that you need to roll a 20 on the attack roll to get it's bonus dice. Am I correct in assuming that this means that a Champion wielding a vicious Weapon would get a critical on a 19, but wouldn't get the bonus 2d6 from the Vicious Weapon?

As a bonus question: Do we know if this is intentional, or if it was just a spelling mistake to say specifically 20, instead of just saying "critical" in the Vicious Weapon's description?


3 Answers 3


Improved critical does not expand the range of numbers triggering Vicious Weapons

This question has been answered by Mike Mearls in a tweet.

The extra damage from Vicious Weapon is triggered by a natural 20, not a critical hit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you want to add in the point from Jeremy Crawford on the critical for Champions, per your reference to that tweet? It seems relevant. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does seem relevant, but I'm having a hard time with actually adding it. I just can't seem to phrase it well at the moment. Feel free to take a crack at it. \$\endgroup\$
    – xanderh
    Feb 24, 2016 at 1:14

Always best to assume the rules mean exactly what they say.

Champion scores a critical on a 19-20. Vicious weapons do an extra 7 damage when you roll a 20 - this is also a critical.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Where does the 7 damage come from? The SRD mentions 2d6. Are you just going off of the averages? \$\endgroup\$
    – Patrick vD
    Feb 22, 2016 at 20:14
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ DMG p.209 says 7 with no mention of dice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Feb 22, 2016 at 20:26
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ SRD p. 251 says "Vicious Weapon" ... When you roll a 20 on your attack roll with this magic weapon, your critical hit deals an extra 2d6 damage of the weapon’s type. That isn't in the DMG errata. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22, 2016 at 21:50

To answer your second question, this is almost certainly intentional. Remember, just because you crit on a 19, does not make a 19 an automatic hit. That is reserved for a nat 20.

My point being that just because a nat 20 is crit, that does not mean that all crits are nat 20s, nor are all nat 20 effects related to criticals.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'm not sure I understand the question..... but Xavon is right, in the PHB 'Combat' section it does verify that a Natural 20 is an automatic hit, AS WELL AS a critical hit, which allows you to add extra (or multiply) your damage dice. Improved Critical simply allows the Fighter to add/multiply their damage dice on a successful attack, it doesn't lower the Natural 20 auto hit parameters to 19, however. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Feb 23, 2016 at 2:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xavon_Wrentaile I just found out in Meta that incomplete answers are not preferred, nor desirable. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 2:58
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ -1. This answer is based on a wrong assumption. All critical hits are automatic hits, according to this tweet: sageadvice.eu/2015/12/21/… \$\endgroup\$
    – xanderh
    Feb 23, 2016 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xanderh - Interesting. I don't think rules clarifications should be done in tweets, especially when they run counter to what the original book says and what previous editions have done. But there you go. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Xavon_Wrentaile I checked the errata for the PHB and it does not seem to have made it, though that tweet was after the first errata was posted. It did not make it into the current Sage Advice Compendium but it may get into version 1.02. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 17:45

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