[RPG] How does the double-bladed scimitar compare to using two weapons with the Dual Wielder feat and Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style


I've often felt that having a consistent bonus-action attack (or other mechanic) is 'optimal' in builds during combat. The more actions/options you have, the 'better' you are able to handle different situations or deal more damage.

Traditionally, in order to have a consistent bonus-action attack, the Dual Wielder feat and Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style was a common source for melee-focused builds. But there was a pretty big investment in doing so (feat and fighting style).

Eberron's new double-bladed scimitar seems to bypass this investment, but does it actually? Is it better or worse from an optimization and damage output perspective?

A double-bladed scimitar is a martial weapon, weighing 6 pounds and dealing 2d4 slashing damage on a hit.

It has the two-handed property and the following special property:

  • If you attack with a double-bladed scimitar as part of the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action immediately after to make a melee attack with it. This attack deals 1d4 slashing damage on a hit, instead of 2d4.

Another thing to consider is the similarity of the scimitar to that of the scimitar of speed, but without the +2 property.

Best Answer

The Double-Bladed Scimitar compares very favorably to most kinds of Two-Weapon Fighting in terms of raw damage

I've created a table below of the expected DPR (damage per round) values for four different combat styles

  1. Using a Double-Bladed Scimitar
  2. Using a Double-Bladed Scimitar with the Great Weapon Fighting fighting style
    • The Scimitar is a two-handed weapon, and is valid for that fighting style
  3. Using Shortswords for Two-Weapon Fighting
  4. Using Longswords for Two-Weapon Fighting with the Dual Wielder feat
Name AC 0 AC 11 AC 13 AC 15 AC 17 AC 20 AC 25
Scimitar x1 & off 13.200 10.500 9.150 7.800 6.450 4.425 1.050
Scimitar w/GWF x1 & off 14.700 11.700 10.200 8.700 7.200 4.950 1.200
Shortswords x1 & off 12.700 10.100 8.800 7.500 6.200 4.250 1.000
Longswords x1 & off 14.700 11.700 10.200 8.700 7.200 4.950 1.200
Scimitar x2 & off 23.900 21.450 19.000 16.550 14.100 10.425 4.300
Scimitar w/GWF x2 & off 26.400 23.700 21.000 18.300 15.600 11.550 4.800
Shortswords x2 & off 21.900 19.650 17.400 15.150 12.900 9.525 3.900
Longswords x2 & off 24.900 22.350 19.800 17.250 14.700 10.875 4.500
Scimitar x3 & off 32.700 32.700 29.350 26.000 22.650 17.625 9.250
Scimitar w/GWF x3 & off 36.200 36.200 32.500 28.800 25.100 19.550 10.300
Shortswords x3 & off 29.200 29.200 26.200 23.200 20.200 15.700 8.200
Longswords x3 & off 33.200 33.200 29.800 26.400 23.000 17.900 9.400
Scimitar x4 & off 46.250 46.250 46.250 41.500 36.750 29.625 17.750
Scimitar w/GWF x4 & off 50.750 50.750 50.750 45.550 40.350 35.550 19.550
Shortswords x4 & off 41.250 41.250 41.250 37.000 32.750 26.375 15.750
Longswords x4 & off 46.250 46.250 46.250 41.500 36.750 29.625 17.750

Double-Bladed Scimitar has been shortened to Scimitar due to formatting issues.

A few important observations stand out:

  • A GWF-boosted DB Scimitar will always be the best option, even if at low level when it's merely tied with Dual-Wielding Longswords (which itself required investment in a feat)
  • A non-GWF-boosted DB Scimitar will be better than Shortswords, but worse than Longswords (... until level 20, where they become equal).

But it might be difficult to find its real use case

It's worth contextualizing these options. The ability to change fighting styles is still limited to the Class Features Unearthed Arcana, and Strength-based Two-Weapon Fighting characters are somewhat rare, given that Strength-based characters would generally prefer the (DPR-superior) great weapons instead, and Dexterity allows use of Rapiers with no loss in DPR compared to Longswords. As a result, for most characters that would consider using this weapon, I don't think they would likely have the GWF fighting style, so I don't think it's totally accurate to use GWF-Boosted DB Scimitar as the baseline we compare against.

So if we take as a given that most Dual-Wielding characters are Dexterity-based (invalidating use of this weapon), and most Strength-based characters would instead prefer using a Greatsword or Greataxe, the actual use-case for a weapon like this (which cannot be used with Dexterity and cannot be used with Great Weapon Mastery) is actually quite narrow.

Which leads me to the surprising conclusion that I think this weapon is... fine? Yes, it absolutely is a strict upgrade over TWF-styled weapons in the specific scenario where the person considering using this weapon is a Strength-based Fighter that did not take GWF, but I think that that type of character is actually quite rare.