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One of the cool things about the Pathfinder Magus class is that you can deliver touch attack spells through your weapon. If you make use of that, do you have to make the concentration check to cast the spell defensively?

I can't find anything saying you're immune to concentration checks in such situations, but it seems a little odd that such a major class ability is limited by whether you can make a concentration check beforehand and potentially waste the spell.

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

If you cast the spell while in melee combat you will have to cast defensibly, or take an attack of opportunity.

One work around for this is casting the spell, then moving and touching the opponent when you get in range. OR 5 foot step and cast it safely. Remember casting a touch spell keeps it in charge until you discharge it manually or touch a valid target.

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The pathfinder rules aren't perfectly clear on this. but there are two abilities we have to look at to make this clear.

Spell Combat (Ex)

At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield his weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If he casts this spell defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check. If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A magus can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.

*Spellstrike (Su)

At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, he can deliver the spell through any weapon he is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, a magus can make one free melee attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If the magus makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks. This attack uses the weapon’s critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

Spell strike doesn't actually require that the Magus be adjacent to the target when the spell is cast, so he doesn't HAVE to use defensive casting to use the spell. however, if used in conjunction with spell combat, he would need to make concentration checks normally.

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Kind of an old question, but came up when googling a question of my own.

Spellstrike does NOT say anything about overriding the standard attack of opportunity/casting defensively rules, so they DO still apply: if you cast a spell in a threatened area, you must either cast defensively, or provoke an attack of opportunity. The fact that you're delivering it via a weapon attack instead of a touch attack doesn't change that.

That being said, the rules for touch spells work in your favor, as far as casting out of melee, then moving in.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook, page 185, "Touch Spells in Combat":

In the same round that you cast the spell, you may also touch (or attempt to touch) as a free action.

Meaning you can cast out of melee as a standard action, move up to the enemy as a move action, and then make the touch attack as a free action. Since Spellstrike allows you to substitute a that touch attack for a weapon attack, the magus could deliver that weapon attack as a free action.

Note that you only get ONE free attempt (which MUST be used the turn you cast the spell), and you CAN still hold the charge if you miss, so you can try again next turn as a standard action.

And if you DM for some reason rejects that (explicitly legal) tactic, remember that you can also take a 5-foot step "before, during, or after" your other actions, so you could cast, then take a 5-foot step into melee range, too.

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