Does a reaction that causes me to move out of range after the spell is cast but before the spell hits cause it to miss?

A couple ways this can be done are

  • Readied action to move with a trigger: target casts the spell
  • Mage Slayer feat with a melee weapon attack that moves the caster

3 Answers 3


The spell would hit (pending a successful roll)

There is no time differential between spellcasting and 'hit' when dealing with Instantaneous casting times.

If a spellcasting has been completed, we look at the duration to understand how long the effect lasts/takes. If the spell is Instantaneous, then

The spell harms, heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way that can't be dispelled, because its magic exists only for an instant.

In addition, Range is no longer a factor once cast:

Once a spell is cast, its effects aren't limited by its range, unless the spell's description says otherwise.

Therefore, a spell that has completed it's casting with an instantaneous effect would deliver that effect before the target had an opportunity to move.

The only way to move out of range would have been to do so before the casting was completed

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about if the spell caster was holding the spell (ie, a readied action)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Shadow
    Mar 6, 2018 at 5:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Shadow If the caster had it as a readied action then when the action is triggered the spell goes off as stated in the answer and continues as normal. \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Mar 6, 2018 at 5:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rpgstar even if the target is out of range when the trigger happens? \$\endgroup\$
    – Shadow
    Mar 6, 2018 at 5:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shadow in that case the spell fails \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Mar 6, 2018 at 5:54

The spell still hits

In any reaction that occurs when the spell is cast, "when the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger. (PHB 193). As such, the spell will still be cast and is governed by this rule from the Range section of Spellcasting:

Once a spell is cast, its effects aren’t limited by its range, unless the spell’s description says otherwise.

So, no matter how far away you move from the reaction, the spell attack will follow you.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The question does say after the spell is cast. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2018 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch You could have just done it on your own turn, then. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2018 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ The "reflex saving throw for half damage" for cases like a fireball also seem to be a proof for this. It actually simulates the effect the OP was looking for: it can be interpreted as jumping/rolling away from the spell, but still being scorched by it passing next to you. So there is no need for a separate handling of a "jumping away" action. \$\endgroup\$
    – vsz
    Mar 6, 2018 at 7:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vsz We are talking about spells with attack rolls; It is Dexterity saving throw; and you dont move when you make a save like this \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2018 at 7:26

The spell would hit you

According to the rules for readying actions:

...decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction...

When the trigger occurs, you can either take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger.

The trigger of "being targeted" with a spell is tricky, as I don't believe it is "perceivable" as is required by the Ready action until the spell is actually cast. Identifying who a spell is going to target before cast could be house ruled but RAW there is nothing to indicate that the actions required to cast a spell indicate the target until the spell occurs.

Since the trigger completes, the spell is cast, at which point you're already targeted, and the spell goes off before you are able to move. In the case of firebolt, the projectile simply moves too fast.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ There is considerable disagreement on this point; the wording of the trigger is important. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/92023/… \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2018 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see, I was taking for granted that "targeted" is only perceivable on a spell being cast and not before - I'll add that in. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2018 at 14:58

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