# Do I need advantage to sneak attack someone who is incapacitated?

Sneak attack needs to have advantage on attack except in these circumstances:

Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe’s distraction. Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll

I am struggling with understanding the "isn't incapacitated" requirement, because from my point of view it's the best time to strike. An enemy has no chance defending himself while being incapacitated.

• The answers are addressing the misreading of the rule. However, no one is addressing the question as written. When a target is incapacitated do you require advantage to use sneak attack? Or, alternately, when a target is incapacitated, does that grant advantage on your attack? – Michael Richardson Mar 2 '18 at 17:48
• Given that it's pretty easy to approach someone who's incapacitated, I'd say yes to the title question ... but there may be better bonuses that apply instead in that case? – Matthew Read Mar 2 '18 at 18:12

You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll (emphasis mine)

This is an understandable misreading. "that enemy" refers to an enemy of the creature being targeted with the attack.

In other words, to trigger sneak attack, you need someone within 5 ft of the target, that other person also needs to be an enemy of the target and can't be incapacitated.

The in-game interpretation of sneak attack is that the rogue is exploiting an opening or distraction during a fight. Having another enemy standing next to you is certainly distracting but not so much if he is incapacitated.

• I get it now. It is very misleading for non native english speaker. – Wrait Mar 2 '18 at 19:08
• Yeah, that one makes even english speakers do a bit of a double-take. It would have been clearer to say 'your ally' is within 5 feet of the target and not incapacitated, but I guess they wanted to be clear that you don't have to specifically be buddies with the distraction, just as long as it's distracting the person you want to stab. – Darth Pseudonym Mar 2 '18 at 20:21
• Feat: lumberjack snore. When incapacitated, rogues can still use you to trigger sneak attack. +1 cha, and when not wearing armor but wearing a flannel shirt with a red and black checker pattern can set your AC to 13+Cha. – Yakk Mar 2 '18 at 20:56

The "incapacitated" doesn't refer to the target. It refers to the other combatant who helps you to gain an advantage-free sneak attack.

Here is an illustrated example.

A Fighter (F) and a Rogue (R) fight a Goblin (G). The situation looks like this:

....
.GF.
.R..
....


Rogue can use sneak attack without advantage here, because another enemy of Goblin (the Fighter) is within 5ft of the goblin. Note that Fighter doesn't even need to attack Goblin for this. He might do something completely unrelated to Goblin on his turn. All that matters is that Fighter is "an enemy" of Goblin and within 5ft.

Now Goblin lands a lucky critical hit on Fighter and manages to incapacitate him:

....
.GℲ.
.R..
....


Fighter is still "another enemy within 5 feet" of Goblin, but that enemy is incapacitated. That means Rogue no longer enjoys advantage-free sneak attacks.

I am struggling with understanding the "isn't incapacitated" requirement, because from my point of view it's the best time to strike. An enemy has no chance defending himself while being incapacitated.

The passage you quote does not ever refer to the target of your attack with the word "enemy". They are referred to as "foe", "creature", and "target". The first time the word "enemy" is used, it is used to refer to an enemy "of the target". When the word "enemy" is used in the phrase "the enemy is not incapacitated", it still refers to the enemy of your target.