Conventional wisdom tells us that Great Weapon Master (GWM) is the best feat for heavy-hitters, bar none. Indeed, GWM does cause the largest damage increase of any feat available to martial characters. However, that doesn’t mean it should be the first stop on your journey.
As it turns out, GWM can actually decrease your overall damage output if taken too soon. When you haven’t stacked a high enough attack bonus, the -5 to attack can be really punitive.
While GWM’s +10 damage benefit is responsible for much of the damage increase, that’s because it’s helped by other factors, including an increased chance to hit from proficiency bonus scaling and higher Strength investment via Ability Score Improvements (ASIs).
Since you can use GWM abundantly, it’s also helped by getting more attacks. You’ll probably get access to Extra Attack at some point as a martial character. You can also get a benefit…
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