Touch spells, even those specifically channeled through a weapon for purposes of Spellstrike, are retained if the spell does not make contact with the target.

d20pfsrd Spellstrike entry:

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. ...

d20pfsrd Magus FAQ:

...The magus touching his held weapon doesn’t count as “touching anything or anyone” when determining if he discharges the spell. A magus could even use the spellstrike ability, miss with his melee attack to deliver the spell, be disarmed by an opponent (or drop the weapon voluntarily, for whatever reason), and still be holding the charge in his hand, just like a normal spellcaster. Furthermore, the weaponless magus could pick up a weapon (even that same weapon) with that hand without automatically discharging the spell, and then attempt to use the weapon to deliver the spell. However, if the magus touches anything other than a weapon with that hand (such as retrieving a potion), that discharges the spell as normal.

If I'm playing a sixth level Magus, fighting a target with heavy armor and low Dex and I cast Shocking Grasp, followed by my first attack that hits, and then follow up with my free Spellstrike attack that misses by the target's normal AC, but would hit their touch. Would you still retain the charge of Shocking Grasp, would it do it's normal damage without the added weapon damage, or would it be expended with no effect? Normally, touching anything other than your weapon would automatically discharge your spell, but Spellstrike alters the effect of "Touch" to be as part of a normal melee attack, but it does not say if the touch spell needs to be a normal hit, or if it still hits on touch.

So my question is this: If you miss a target by their armor bonus, but still manage to hit their touch, would you retain the charge, would the Shocking Grasp still discharge (doing the spell's damage and not the weapon damage), or would it just discharge with no effect?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can this be simplified to something like If an attacker misses a foe's normal AC but hits the foe's touch AC, does the attacker touch his target? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2017 at 6:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, this question may be of interest. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2017 at 7:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ paizo.com/threads/… gives a detailed explanation of your options with spellstrike in combat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2017 at 15:44

2 Answers 2


You would retain the charge, as your delivery of the spell missed the target.

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.

If you elect to deliver your spell with your weapon, you are (unless you have some set up that allows otherwise) targeting your foe's non-Touch AC.

When your melee attack misses, your delivery misses, and as such the spell is not discharged.


There is no rule about where your weapon land depending on whether you miss but would have succeeded a touch attack or miss by more than that. Many DM use the houserule that then the weapon bounces over the armor when a larger miss results in a simple dodge but this is not part of the core rules.

Concerning the Magus, as nothing is specifically noticed, nothing special happens if he misses, so he retains the charge.


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