[Top 10] D&D: Best One-Handed Weapons (Ranked)

One of the most enjoyable aspects of role-playing in a D&D 5e campaign is buying, finding, or looting (no judgment here) excellent weapons for combat. The quality of a weapon can make or break a character in a challenging encounter.

Most classes have the ability to wield a one-handed weapon and do so so they can carry a shield and increase armor class. (The only exception here is the spell casting classes that cannot use shields.) Weapons are great story-telling tools to utilize in order to move an otherwise boring adventure forward. Imagine the interesting backstory of a beloved sword or an ornate dagger.

This article will cover the best one-handed weapons, from good to best, to use in your next gaming adventure. I am ranking the weapons by overall awesomeness, the amount of damage they can do, and how many classes can use them.

10. Holy Avenger (Best for Paladins)

Starting this list at #10 is the Holy Avenger. I only listed this weapon as good instead of great because of the accessibility rather than the effectiveness of the weapon. There needs to be a Paladin in the party available to attune it, and depending on your DM, the lucky wielder of this weapon needs to have a good alignment for it to work. This is one the few cases where alignments do matter!

The Holy Avenger would be a Paladin’s dream sword and a vampire’s nightmare, as it is the ultimate weapon versus undead unless the Undead suddenly turned holy. (Don’t hold your breath-they won’t!)

What Holy Avenger Excels In

  • Whoever uses this weapon gains +3 to attack and for damage.
  • If the unlucky opponent is a fiend or undead, they will take 2d10 radiant damage!
  • Creatures and characters of a good alignment will soak up a bonus on saving throws in a 10-foot aura.

Holy Avenger Stats

  • Longsword: 1d8 slashing/ two handed=1d10 slashing
  • Rapier: 1d8 piercing
  • Scimitar: 1d6 slashing
  • Shortsword: 1d6 piercing

9. Sun Blade (Best for Fighters, Paladins)

The Sun Blade is next on the list. Although it is not considered Legendary, The Sun Blade is a rare item that can be used by most classes with good alignments, so I decided to add it. The Sun Blade would also be more accessible than a Legendary item.  It is more of a good than a great weapon because of the alignment aspect and because it needs to be attuned by a spellcaster. There must be a spellcaster of a good alignment to attune it. If you run out of torches or any other light source, the Sun Blade would make for an excellent night light. Not only that, but the Sun Blade is so versatile that it can be used as either a one-handed or a two-handed weapon.

What Sun Blade Excels In

  • The owner of the sword will gain +2 bonus to hit and for damage.
  • Any undead creature will take an additional 1d8 radiant damage.
  • The blade emits bright sunlight at 15 feet and dim sunlight at 15 feet.
  • This can be also used (bonus action) as a finesse weapon.

Item Stats

  • Inflicts 1d8 damage as a one-handed sword
  • Inflicts 1d10 damage as a two-handed sword

8. Hammer of Thunderbolts (Best for Fighters)

The Hammer of Thunderbolts would be a great Legendary weapon to have to fight against larger monsters like ogres, giants, or dragons. There are five charges on the magical weapon.  The only catch would be that the Hammer of Thunderbolts needs to be attuned. Although traditionally a two-handed weapon, you could ask your DM to make it a one-handed weapon with reduced modifications.

The hammer can only be attuned wearing the Belt of Strength and Gauntlets of Ogre Power, but the good news is that with the belt and gauntlets, the hammer completes an outfit that will help slay monsters and would add strength to the player’s character. Another cool aspect of this weapon is that it can be used to stun opponents.

What Hammer of Thunderbolts Excels In

  • Whoever has the hammer gets +1 advantage on attack and damage.
  • The Strength score of the wielder increases by +4 and cannot exceed a Strength Score of 30.
  • Since this weapon was constructed to be used against giants, if the player rolls a 20 when attacking a giant, the giant must make a Constitution saving throw of 17 or higher or be killed.

Hammer of Thunderbolts Stats

  • Damage: 2d6

7. Javelin of Lightning (Best for Fighters, Sorcerers, Wizards)

This is a great weapon to have for whoever is throwing it. When the player utters the command word, the javelin transforms into a 5 ft wide bolt of lightning and can be thrown up to 120 feet.  The Javelin of Lightning is more common than other Legendary weapons, so it may be able to be more easily found.

The DM and the Player can collectively come up with a command word, or the DM could make the task more challenging and make the Player guess. The Player could be in for a shock. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

What Javelin of Lightning Excels In

  • This is a useful magic weapon because it does not have to be attuned
  • It only weighs 2 pounds, so it won’t weigh the player down.

Javelin of Lightning Stats

  • 1d6 Lightning Damage
  • 4d6 Lightning Damage on a failed Dexterity save

6. Staff of the Magi (Best for Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard)

The Staff of the Magi is another terrific Legendary one-handed weapon that can be used in battle. There are exactly 50 charges on this staff. Although it is unclear if other classes can use this weapon (check with your DM), the Staff of the Magi does have to be attuned by Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards.
This Legendary weapon is designed for spellcasters who don’t necessarily have to have a conscience (I’m looking at you, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards!)

What Staff of the Magi Excels In

  • The staff regains 4d6+2 charges at dawn. Be careful not to use up all the charges, because on the last charge, the user will have to roll a 20 to regain 1d12+1 charges.
  • Can be used as a quarterstaff to have +2 on attack and damage.
  • Also, the wielder has a +2  bonus on spell attack rolls.
  • The staff can absorb spells.

Staff of the Magi Stats

  • Conjure elemental (7 charges)
  • Dispel magic (3 charges)
  • Fireball (7th level) (7 charges)
  • Flaming sphere (2 charges)
  • Ice storm (4 charges)
  • Invisibility (2 charges)
  • Knock (2 charges)
  • Lightning Bolt (7th level) (7 charges)
  • Passwall (5 charges)
  • Plane Shift (7 charges)
  • Telekinesis (5 charges)
  • Wall of Fire  (4 charges)
  • Web (2 charges)

5. Staff of Power (Best for Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards)

The Staff of Power is versatile and can be used either as a quarterstaff or as a magic item. It will need to be attuned by a Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard. This very rare item contains up to 20 charges and recharges by 2d8+4 at dawn, unless the wielder gets greedy and uses up all the charges. Only if the wielder rolls a 20 then 1d8+2 charges are regained. (Repeat: do not use up all the charges.)

Although the Staff of Power is intended for spellcasters, if there is a need for additional spells, another class may be able to wield and use it. That, of course, is up to the DM’s discretion.

What Staff of Power Excels In

  • As a quarterstaff, the user has +2 for both attacks and damage.
  • When holding the Staff of Power, the wielder gains +2 bonuses to Armor Class, saving throws, and spell attack rolls.
  • The staff can be cracked over the knee and used as a Retributive Strike. (Keep in mind, it destroys the staff.)  There is also a chance that the user could be transformed to another plane in the blast.

Staff of Power Stats

  • Cone of Cold (5 charges)
  • Fireball (5th Level) (5 charges)
  • Globe of Invulnerability (6 charges)
  • Hold Monster (5 charges)
  • Levitate (2 charges)
  • Lightning Bolt (5th Level) (5 charges)
  • Magic Missile (1 charge)
  • Wall of Force (5 charges)

4. Mace of Disruption (Best for Clerics)

Finally, a magical weapon that Clerics can use! Despite the ability to do some serious damage to undead creatures. The Mace of Disruption is lightweight, only weighing 4 pounds. This weapon is useful to have if the party is up against a lot of fiends or undead creatures.

Not only is the Mace of Disruption a formidable weapon, but like a few of the others on this list, it also acts as a light source, shedding bright light in a 20 foot-radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. (It’s another way to annoy the undead!)

What Mace of Disruption Excels In

  • Not only can the Mace of Disruption do double damage to all undead creatures, but if said creatures have fewer than 25 hit points, they must make a Wisdom Saving Throw of 15 or automatically be destroyed. If the creature makes the saving throw, they are frightened until the next turn.
  • If anyone wielding this weapon is proficient with using a mace, they can add a proficiency bonus to the attack roll.

Mace of Disruption Stats

  • 1d6 damage for targets that are not undead.
  • 2d6 damage to fiend or undead.

3. Scimitar of Speed, (Best for Monks, Rogues)

The Scimitar of Speed is lightweight and easy to carry as it only weighs three pounds! Since Monks and Rogues tend to be dexterous and sneaky, this would be the perfect magic weapon for them to use in battle.

This lightweight weapon will require an attunement; the DM can determine which class can attune the item.

What Scimitar of Speed Excels In

  • Can also make an attack as a Bonus Action.
  • There are Modifiers: +2 Melee Attacks and +2 Melee Damage.

Scimitar of Speed Stats

  • 1d6 slashing damage
  • Anyone using the Scimitar of Speed enjoys a +2 bonus to Attack and Damage rolls.

2. Sword of Sharpness, (Best for Fighters, Monks)

The Sword of Sharpness is a coveted weapon because not only does it cause extra damage but can hack off limbs. Although considered as a rare item, the amount of damage it can do is legendary! There needs to be a spellcaster in the party willing to attune this weapon.

The PC or DM can make up a command word for this sword, or the DM can make the PC figure it out. When it is spoken, the sword will light up a 10’ radius and emit dim light for another 10’ radius. Not only is the Sword of Sharpness a formidable weapon but is also a Legendary night light!

What Sword of Sharpness Excels In

  • If the attacker rolls a 20, the opponent will take an extra 14 points of slashing damage.
  • If the wielder of the sword rolls a 20 twice in a row, the opponent automatically loses a limb or portion of its body. (DM’s choice.)
  • Damage is always maximized on a successful hit.

Sword of Sharpness Stats

  • Longsword: 1d8 slashing/Two Handed: 1d10 slashing
  • Scimitar: 1d6 slashing

1.  Longhand Vorpal Sword  (Best for Fighters, Monks, Rogues)

If your DM is kind enough, or if you bribed them with enough chocolate or a bag of shiny dice, the Longsword Vorpal Sword, in my opinion, is the best on this list. This weapon is the best because of the extensive damage it can do to an opponent in one swing in an encounter.

This is a fun sword to use in battle because opponents could literally lose their heads over it! (Okay, I’ll see myself out. I had to write it.) I would personally want my character to get her mitts on this Legendary weapon, especially since she is 9th level, and the monsters are getting harder to defeat.

What Longhand Vorpal Sword Excels In

  • The Longhand Vorpal Sword is versatile, meaning that it can be used as either a one handed or two-handed sword. As a two-handed sword, the damage is higher.
  • The wielder of this weapon gains a +3 for both attack and damage.
  • Also, the Longhand Vorpal Sword negates an opponent’s  resistance to slashing damage.

Longhand Vorpal Sword Stats

  • Single-handed: 1d8+3 slashing
  • Double-handed: 1d10+3 slashing
  • On a d20, the opponent is decapitated.



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As a Pokemon Trainer by day and a bard or cleric by night, I enjoy the spoken and written word by candlelight.
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