Can you take the Attack action without attacking, just to get any side benefits?

For example, Blade Flourish says:

Whenever you take the Attack action on your turn, your walking speed increases by 10 feet until the end of the turn [...]

In all examples the bard has a speed of 30 feet and does not have Extra Attack.

First relevant scenario:

The Bard and the enemy is 40 ft apart. If the Bard can take Attack action before spending all 30 ft movement, then he can reach the enemy and attack them with the added extra movement. If not, the Bard and the enemy are now 10 ft apart.

Second relevant scenario:

There is an enemy around the corner. The Bard might or might not know there is an enemy there. With the added movement from Blade Flourish, he will be able to walk around the corner and attack the enemy.

Third relevant scenario:

Same as second scenario, but he will only be able to walk around the corner without being able to attack. He does not know if he can reach to attack the enemy at the end of the turn.

Is taking Attack action allowed without being able to make an attack?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the goal just to get to the enemy? Or to actually attack them with the attack action that gives extra movement? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the goal is to abuse the extra movement. I'd care less if I'd be able to really do an attack or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean this as an honest question, but is there some benefit you see to doing this compared to just taking the Dash action? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose The question stems from the first scenario (to attack a target), but then another scenario comes up in my mind, together with the variant. My last comment was intended to simplify answers: as long as I get to know when I can get the movement, or when I can't. So, the answer is the attack I can made if I do have the extra movement before doing an actual attack on target. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 19:45

4 Answers 4


You can't take the Attack action if your target isn't in range

When you take the Attack action you must immediately make an attack

When you take the Attack action you must immediately make an attack against a valid target.

As Jeremy Crawford has said, there is no gap between taking the Attack action and the attack that results from said action.

When you take an action, the action happens. There is no abstract "take an action" step that takes place before the action itself.

If you "take" the Attack action and don't attack, then you have not taken the action. The action and the resulting attack are one and the same.

You must pick a target as soon as you take the Attack action

Under the rules in the PHB under "Making an Attack" it lists the steps one must go through in order to perform an attack.

1. Choose a target. Pick a target within your attack's range: a creature, an object, or a location.

So, since the enemy is too far away to hit with your melee weapon you cannot choose them as a target for your Attack. However, if you didn't care about being able to attack the enemy, you could attack an object or a location that is within range and that would still be considered an attack for the purposes of Blade Flourish.

After you have completed your Attack, you can move (with extra movement)

No matter what you choose to attack, you can now move with whatever movement you have left plus 10 feet of bonus movement from Blade Flourish.

It is important to note that also that rules only allow you to move during an Attack action if you have multiple attacks. In that specific case, it only allows you to move between the attacks, but not before the first attack. No rule allows someone to move during an Attack action before the first attack.

However, if you are only able to make one attack per turn, then you just used your only attack on an object (for example) which gives you enough movement to reach them, but you have no attacks left to attack them with.

Scenario 1

The Bard can take the attack action to attack a rock nearby. After the attack completes, they can move 40 feet and be within melee range of the enemy. However, since they have already spent their Attack, they cannot attack the enemy this turn.

Scenario 2 & 3

As far as I can tell both of these are exactly the same for the rules that are relevant to Blade Flourish.

The Bard does not get extra movement unless they take the Attack action first. Since the enemy has total cover against the Bard, the Bard cannot attack them from their current position. They can attack an object or something and that will give them extra movement just like Scenario 1.

However, why not just use the Bard's normal movement to go around the corner? Once you see the enemy you can attack them if you are within range. If you attack the enemy (instead of an object/location) then you get the benefits of the extra movement and the extra flourishes the result when you hit a creature.

If the enemy more than 30 feet away however, then the Bard will have to choose between using their Attack to get the bonus movement (and not be able to attack the enemy) or if they want to take another action.

If all you want is extra movement, just use Dash

If you are already spending an action to gain movement and already losing your attack, then you should just take the Dash action and get a lot more movement from that spent action.

Really the true benefit from Blade Flourish comes from when you actually have something within your movement/range that you want to Attack and you get the movement as a bonus to that Attack. It doesn't seem to have much use as an ends to gain more movement when there is already an mechanic made for that very purpose.


According to these rules, it looks like you cannot get the extra 10' of movement until after your 1st attack as part of your Attack action, since it is conditional on that attack. You'll either need to you your Action to Dash to get more movement (and not be able to attack) or move to the corner and Ready an attack.

If your DM allows you to perform an invalid attack (say attack the air in front of you in case someone invisible is there) in order to get the extra 10', then you could only attack after closing the distance or rounding that corner if you had extra attacks (you already used up your first attack).


The language is unclear but from reading other rules with similar phrasing, I think the answer is yes.

The Shield Master feat reads, "If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can do something." The Polearm Master feat reads, "When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can do something." In both of those cases, you can do the something before you make the attack(s), which locks in your choice of taking the Attack action.

The Sword College feature reads, "Whenever you take the Attack action on your turn, you get extra speed and can do something."

I think it is reasonable to read it the same way as the first two, even though all of them use different phrasing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Shield Master - Can the shield push be taken before an attack? says no, you can't Shove before the action that unlocks it. (Crawford tweet and several convincing answers, with only a couple less popular answers arguing the other position). If you have Extra Attack, you can take one attack, then the bonus action, then your other attack. (I think but didn't double check just now.) Anyway, that's a barely-plausible reading of the Swords College feature, but the similar rules you cite actually weigh against this argument, not for it. :/ \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently this was different in the past; Crawford changed his mind as your answer on the linked question explains, once you edited it a couple months after posting this answer! \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 23:45

You can take the Attack action out of range

Taking the Attack action is separate from making an attack. The first provides you with the extra speed, and only the second one needs a target at all.

If they were the same, you could not use the bonus action provided by Shield Master before your first attack, but you can.

So you can use Blade Flourish to get to the enemy 40 feet away, and attack it.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Taking the Shield Master bonus action is not the same as moving. Can you find anywhere in the rules that allows you to move before attacking at all upon taking the attack action (without multiple attacks)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose this is exactly my point, "how to attack" is not "how to take the attack action" \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ that is true. That section is not explicitly about Attack. It refers to resolving all attacks. However, that really isn't the main point. (I've removed the comment since it was inaccurate). There is nothing in the rules that supports what you said. Bonus actions have specific rules that allow them to be taken at any time. Movement does not have such a stipulation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 18:36
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You can't be taking the Attack action without making an attack. "When you take an action, the action happens. There is no abstract "take an action" step that takes place before the action itself." \$\endgroup\$
    – Doval
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András I was going to make just this point - the precedent for considering it to all happen at the same time is clearly established. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 20:10

You must log in to answer this question.

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