The counterspell rules in Pathfinder say some spells can be used to counter other spells (like, say, Darkness can counterspell light spells). But does this override the regular counterspelling rule? In short, can Darkness still counterspell Darkness?

(Note: I'm on smartphone, the ask page doesn't tell me if this question is already asked)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note, though, that counterspelling a spell requires you to be in range...and spells such as Darkness and Light generally have Touch range, meaning you have to be able to touch the caster...highly impractical in most situations, even if it is technically possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:02

2 Answers 2


A spell can be used to counterspell a spell of the same name plus any additional spells the spell lists

Counterspells says, "It is possible to cast any spell as a counterspell," then, later, continues, saying, "Some spells can counter other specific spells, often those with diametrically opposed effects" (emphasis mine). These other spells that can be countered by a specific spell are in addition to the spell being able to counterspell itself. (Also see this question.)


Yes, unless the spell explicitly says otherwise.

From the PFSRD on counterspelling (emphasis mine):

To complete the action, you must then cast an appropriate spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (or have a slot of the appropriate level available), you cast it, creating a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results.

Specific Exceptions
Some spells can counter other specific spells, often those with diametrically opposed effects.

Unless the spell's description explicitly says that it can't be used to counterspell itself, then it can.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any examples of spells that cannot counterspell themselves? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tin Wizard
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Walt No, and I don't believe there are any. Specific beats general, however, so if a spell's description did state that the spell could not be used to counterspell itself, that would trump the general rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Jan 29, 2018 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Walt - A case can be made that dispel magic can't be used to automatically counterspell itself, and that trying to do so triggers the general "use dispel magic as counterspell" rules instead. Whether or not there's any clarification on that, or whether it'd hold up at in actual play, I don't know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Jan 29, 2018 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bobson: can you back up this case? Given the general rule a dispel magic should be able to automatically counter an other dispel magic. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2018 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme From the "Counterspell" section of dispel magic: "When dispel magic is used in this way, the spell targets a spellcaster and is cast as a counterspell. Unlike a true counterspell, however, dispel magic may not work; you must make a dispel check to counter the other spellcaster’s spell." It's a spell-specific rule about using it as a counterspell, which would override the general case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Jan 30, 2018 at 11:38

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