The Goblin Boss's Redirect Attack (MM 166) uses a reaction to switch places with another goblin.

Redirect Attack. When a creature the goblin can see targets it with an attack, the goblin chooses another goblin within 5 feet of it. The two goblins swap places, and the chosen goblin becomes the target instead.

If the Goblin Boss is within reach of a hostile enemy, does Redirect Attack to a Goblin outside of the enemy's reach provoke an opportunity attack?

The Goblin Boss also has Nimble Escape ("The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns"). If it uses Nimble Escape to disengage on its turn every turn, will using Redirect Attack avoid OAs? Or does Nimble Escape end at the end of the Boss's turn, thus not affecting Redirect Attacks taken as reactions?

For reference, the section on opportunity attacks from the basic rules:

Opportunity Attacks

In a fight, everyone is constantly watching for a chance to strike an enemy who is fleeing or passing by. Such a strike is called an opportunity attack. You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. To make the opportunity attack, you use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature. The attack occurs right before the creature leaves your reach.

You can avoid provoking an opportunity attack by taking the Disengage action. You also don’t provoke an opportunity attack when you Teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your Movement, action, or reaction. For example, you don’t provoke an opportunity attack if an explosion hurls you out of a foe’s reach or if gravity causes you to fall past an enemy.


3 Answers 3


Yes, if the second Goblin is not within the Reach of the thing making the opportunity attack

It seems a bit weird, however the criteria for triggering an opportunity attack are:

  1. You are moving out of the reach of a hostile creature
  2. This movement is from one of your Actions, Bonus Actions, Movement or Reaction
  3. You have not taken the Disengage action
  4. You are not Teleporting

For this question we can discount Point 4, as the Goblin Boss can't teleport.

We'll also ignore Disengaging for now.

For Point 2, the movement is by the Goblin Boss' Reaction, which fulfills that criteria

For Point 1, if the swapping with the second Goblin does not cause the Goblin Boss to leave the Reach of any hostile creature, it will not trigger an Opportunity attack. In the diagrams below, the first set of movement will not trigger an opportunity attack, while the second set will.

EG    ->    EB
B           G

EBG   ->    EGB

E - Enemy; 
G - Goblin; 
B - Goblin Boss  

Note that wherever the second Goblin is moved from, it does not trigger an Opportunity attack from anything as its movement is forced by the Goblin Boss.

As for using Disengage (via Nimble Escape), it only stops OAs for the rest of your Turn, not the entire Round.

So, if someone had Readied an action to hit the Goblin Boss when the Boss did a specific thing, then the Goblin Boss did that thing on the Boss' turn, and in Reaction the Boss used Redirect Attack, that would not trigger an OA, wherever it moved, as it is still the Boss' Turn so Disengage is still in effect. But normally, Disengage would not help for this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A note about point 2 - the rules specify actions, movement and reactions, not bonus actions. (Unless there's some errata I'm not aware of.) Though if you used Dash as a bonus action (as allowed by the Rogue feature cunning action, for example) it actually grants you additional movement and using that movement would still provoke an OA. I'm not aware off the top of my head of any bonus actions that cause you to move, so it may not make any practical difference. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Apr 12, 2018 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @zeus I recall seeing something saying that if something disallows actions it disallows bonus actions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jihelu
    Jun 12, 2018 at 6:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This reading is a bit strange to me. By this reading things like Dimension Door, Misty Step, or Plane Shift would trigger opportunity attacks. It seems to me that the second last sentence is clarification; the reason why Teleport doesn't provoke is because it doesn't "move" you in the technical way that the Movement and Positioning section of the rules discusses. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2020 at 3:36

Quite the opposite, it can Redirect your opportunity attack

Attack resolving is atomic in D&D 5e. When you make a single attack (not to be confused with an Attack action), you normally either hit and do damage or miss. You can't interrupt the attack, make another action in-between, and then "finish" the hit. When someone successfully interrupts your attack, you effectively waste it, you can't finish the attack after the fact.

So, when you start attacking the Goblin Boss, and it swaps places with another goblin, you can't just make another attack and then finish your fist attack. On the contrary, the Redirect Attack feature probably can save a Goblin Boss from your opportunity attack. You are "a creature the goblin can see" and you "target it with an attack" when you making an OA. Just keep in mind that Redirect Attack is a reaction, therefore, can be used only once until the Goblin Boss's next turn.

A DM can say otherwise

The Redirect Attack feature description are very concise. It even doesn't say the second goblin must not be incapacitated. A DM may apply any reasonable restrictions they think are necessary.

Rules as written, both options are valid:

You also don't provoke an opportunity attack when you Teleport or when someone or something moves you without using your Movement, action, or reaction.

Redirect Attack is not Teleport, it moves the Goblin Boss and uses its reaction, so it might provoke the OA. On the other hand, this ruling virtually "turns ability into a liability", rendering the Redirect Attack feature almost useless.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a source for not being able to take an Opportunity Attack during an Attack? Also, any idea if Redirect Attack fires before or after the attack dice are rolled? \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexaire
    Nov 11, 2017 at 19:00
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ "You can't interrupt the attack, make another action in-between, and then "finish" the hit." If by action you mean the game term I would agree, but an attack of opportunity isn't an action, it's a reaction. And the goblin boss is doing exactly this, interrupting your attack with a reaction. (The attack is still arguably atomic, it just resolves after the interrupting action) You seem to think you can't interrupt his reaction with a reaction of your own, but I don't see that supported by the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Nov 30, 2017 at 22:01
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Zeus by "action" here I mean any possible action, not a game Action term. There are no examples of interrupting your own attack to finish it later in PH, hence I think it is not possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Jan 21, 2018 at 22:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor You're not interrupting your own attack, the goblin is interrupting your attack. And it's the very purpose of the redirect attack feature, so interrupting an attack, then having it "finish" afterwards is explicitly part of the rules. It's not wasted, it targets the other goblin. However, since he has used his reaction to move out of your threat range, assuming you were originally targeting him with an attack other than an OA, you can then target him with an OA. You're interrupting his reaction with your own reaction. It's unusual, but there's nothing in the rules that forbids it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Jan 22, 2018 at 22:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor Your idea that the feature allows the goblin boss to avoid your OA only applies if you were originally targeting him with one. If it was a normal attack, he can't use his reaction a second time in response to your OA, so that one would still target him. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Jan 22, 2018 at 22:28

The effect "swap places" does not equate to movement. No opportunity attack is triggered.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have anything to back this up, or an explanation for why you think this? It sounds like an interesting answer, but it's too unsupported right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Jun 12, 2018 at 5:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps you could quote the Movement and Position rules which discusses the technical wording for what "move" is. I agree that things like teleportation, shifting dimensions, etc, don't seem to be movement in a rules sense. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 23, 2020 at 3:39

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