Subtle Spell states:

When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery points to cast it without any somatic or verbal components

Time Stop only has (V) Components, and The Components on page 203 of the PHB state

If you can't provide one or more of a spell's components, you are unable to cast the spell.

I maybe overthinking this but I wanted to know which one is correct? Subtle < Components or Subtle > Components? If there is a Crawford answer I would like to know as well.

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ I had to read the top-voted answer to understand what this question was asking :| \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 22:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Salomon, are you asking basically if you can cast Time Stop if you've obviated its only component, because it'll have no components left? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 22:54
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Is the true crux of the question, "How do the spellcasting rules cognize a spell with no component requirements?" A question of priorities is not required if one concludes that the rule you cited from page 203 simply establishes that a spell with zero components cannot be cast (as might not be unreasonable, for instance if a designer's conception of magic requires some initiation of a spell beyond mere thought). \$\endgroup\$
    – doomtwig
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 23:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If we read it the way you're suggesting we're eliminating roughly two-thirds of spells that a sorcerer could use with subtle spell(maybe more) making an already underwhelming metamagic way way weaker. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 0:10

5 Answers 5


The rule on spellcasting does not say that you need a component, but:

Each spell's description indicates whether it requires verbal(V), somatic(S), or material(M) components. (PHB 203)

So technically there could be a spell that does not list any components. Subtle spell overwrites even the above rule, which it can do as a class ability is more specific than a base rule (specific beats general, PHB 7).

Another way to put this: in the description of subtle spell "without any somatic or verbal components" should be read as "without providing any somatic or verbal components". It is clearly meant as a way circumvent the normal rules of casting. What you propose would limit casting on the other hand, which clashes with this being a class ability.


YES you can always cast a spell that has no components (as long as you have the spell slot) as there are no requirements left to meet.

The quote about components does not say you have to have a component to have a spell. It says that the spell lists what components are required and if you are unable to provide all of them then you can't cast it.

If you can't provide one or more of a spell's components, you are unable to cast the spell. emphasis mine

If it was intended to be read as a component must always be provided to cast a spell then it would have been worded.

If you don't provide one or more components, you are unable to cast the spell.

With subtle spell Time Stop no longer has any components required (technically you could still have your character do them since not having to speak is not the same as being unable to speak). Since it doesn't require any components it becomes impossible to not be able to meet the requirements. (double negative for effect)

You can also consider the sorcery point spent as the verbal and/or somatic component of your spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, the phrase "one or more" is what should be the hang. Technically, one cannot provide one or more of a spell's components if that spell has zero components. To allow a spell with zero components to be cast would require an additional phrase (for instance, "If a spell has no components, it may be cast..."). \$\endgroup\$
    – doomtwig
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 17:23
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @doomtwig you are reading it backwards. The one or more isn't how many you have to provide to be able to cast the spell, its how many you have to not be able to proved to not be able to cast the spell... the wording is a double negative. You check each component required to cast, if any one of them cannot be met, you cannot cast, other wise you can cast. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Michael Gorman Actually, the logical abstraction is, "If not [boolean], then [condition]," where "[condition]" is "you are unable to cast the spell" and "[boolean]" is "you provide one or more of a spell's components." The [boolean] must be false if you do not provide a spell component, and you cannot provide a spell component to a spell that has no components. \$\endgroup\$
    – doomtwig
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doomtwig you breakdown is incorrect because the inverse of "can't provide one or more of a spell's components" is "can provide ALL of a spell's components". Your boolean allows for a spell caster to provide just 1 component to be able to cast, and according to this answer that is an incorrect interpretation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Michael Gorman You're right, my boolean is miswritten: it should be the compound "[[you provide all of a spell's components] and [you provide at least one component]]." That's where the rule's particular wording comes in - if they wanted you to be able to cast a spell with zero components, they would have written, "If you can't provide any of a spell's components..." (which I think is the correct inverse of the first half of the compound boolean), but they didn't, instead attaching "one or more" language. The "any" form does imply a list-check like your algorithm; the rule does more. \$\endgroup\$
    – doomtwig
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 18:08

You can use subtle spell on Time Stop

Subtle Spell allows you to cast any spell without somatic or verbal components without restriction (aside from sorcery points).

There is no reason why Time Stop would be any different. The fact that it only has verbal components do not matter. Since it is subtle, it now requires no components.

The section you referenced from the PHB only counts if you are unable to provide those components. In this case you are exempt from providing them so it does not matter.


Yes it works.

The Basic Rules Compendium says :

Specific Beats General

This compendium contains rules that govern how the game plays. That said, many racial traits, class features, spells, magic items, monster abilities, and other game elements break the general rules in some way, creating an exception to how the rest of the game works. Remember this: If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule wins.

Exceptions to the rules are often minor. For instance, many adventurers don’t have proficiency with longbows, but every wood elf does because of a racial trait. That trait creates a minor exception in the game. Other examples of rule-breaking are more conspicuous. For instance, an adventurer can’t normally pass through walls, but some spells make that possible. Magic accounts for most of the major exceptions to the rules.

Page 203 of the players hand book is an example of a general rule while subtle spell is a specific rule, hence subtle spell would allow you to cast Time Stop with no compenents needed.



This isn't explicitly disallowed. We can see this due of the usage of the word can't.

If you can't provide one or more of a spell's components, you are unable to cast the spell.

Spending a Sorcery Point to cast a Subtle Spell:

When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery points to cast it without any somatic or verbal components

removes the requirement of the verbal component of this spell.

[All emphasis mine.]

  • \$\begingroup\$ not being explicitly disallowed is first of all a double negative, and second of all not a very good argument. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed it is a double negative. It's also an important factor in the rules of 5e, since specific beats general. The general rules about spending Sorcery Points would allow them to be used this way, and there are no specific rules that prevent it. \$\endgroup\$
    – M C
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .