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So, after reading this answer on a question on Antimagic Field, something that has come-up is a question about Pact of the Blade Warlocks. One of the features of Pact of the Blade is that one can create a weapon which acts as a Magical Weapon:

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming Resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Your pact weapon disappears if it is more than 5 feet away from you for 1 minute or more. It also disappears if you use this feature again, if you dismiss the weapon (no action required), or if you die.

So, it is created (presumably by Magic, since no one can forge a Rapier in a single action and since a Warlock is a magic user), and it acts as a Magical Weapon for the purposes of creatures which are Resistant to damage of that weapon's type from non-magical weapons, or non-magical attacks in the first place.

The other thing about this is that the weapon has to remain within 5 feet of you and can't move outside of that window for more than 1 minute, otherwise it disappears (again, presumably by Magic). It also disappears if you die or if you dismiss it (presumably with Magic). This would mean that, again presumably, this weapon is also maintained by Magic.

And the pertinent text from Antimagic Field reads as the following:

Spells and other magical effects, except those created by an artifact or a deity, are suppressed in the sphere and can't protrude into it.

Now, we already know from the PHB that Warlock Patrons are not themselves Deities or Gods, so my question is this:

Would a Warlock's Pact of the Blade Weapon just disappear inert in an Antimagic Field?

In a sense, the existence of the weapon is a Magical Effect. And yet, ruling that a Warlock's drawn weapon just disappears in an Antimagic Field seems a little... harsh. They already can't cast spells, why should they lose their weapons, too? (that's a rhetorical question)

It just doesn't seem to fit with the RAI, which seems designed to prevent instances where players walk into an Antimagic Field and suddenly become unarmored and unarmed.

It also opens an avenue for abuse, where a creature with Resistance to or Immunity to Damage from Non-Magical Weapons casts Antimagic Field around itself and is then completely invulnerable to all damage.

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No, the weapon would not disappear (but does lose its magic)

Not all "supernatural" effects are magical

So you might look at an ability that summons a weapon from nowhere and think that that is definitely a magical ability (I thought the same thing), but that is not actually a safe assumption.

In fact, not everything that seems magical is actually considered as such by the rules. There are many abilities and effects in the game that are very supernatural, but not a result of magic. For example, a paladin's aura and lay on hands ability are not magical despite being clearly supernatural (see Are a Paladin's auras considered magical for the purpose of Anti-Magic Field?). And neither are many monk ki abilities, dragon breath attacks, and many more features and abilities. All these abilities work flawlessly inside an antimagic field.

So how do you determine what is magical and what is not?

Fortunately, the Sage Advice Compendium outlines the exact way to determine if something is magical or not specifically for the purpose of antimagic field and related effects:

Determining whether a game feature is magical is straightforward. Ask yourself these questions about the feature:

  • Is it a magic item?

  • Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description?

  • Is it a spell attack?
  • Is it fueled by the use of spell slots?
  • Does its description say it’s magical?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, the feature is magical.

If the answers to all the above questions are "no" then that ability is not magical.1

Pact Boons and Pact of the Blade are not magical abilities

Pact Boons are described as:

At 3rd level, your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you for your loyal service. You gain one of the following features of your choice.

Nowhere in this description or in the specific description of pact of the blade does it specifically call out that the ability granted by the patrons is in any way magical.

Neither Pact Boons in general nor the pact of the blade boon have a "yes" for any of the Sage Advice questions listed above. The only one that is even a little bit unclear is the question on if it is a magical item. The reason this is "no" is that we are trying to ascertain whether the ability that creates the weapon is magical and it doesn't matter for that purpose if the weapon created in the end happens to be magical. Though that will come into play in the next section.

All this means is that these abilities that are creating the pact weapon are not magical effects.2 And because the pact weapon was not created using magical effects, it is not subject to any effects that would cause them to vanish.

Since the pact weapon is created by a nonmagical ability, it does not disappear in an antimagic field

There are two ways to create pact weapons as granted by the Pact of the Blade feature:

  1. Create one from nothing (which is the one that is focused on in the question)

  2. Use a ritual to make an existing weapon into a pact weapon

However, since they are both created by the same nonmagical ability, neither method of weapon creation would leave the weapon vulnerable to disappearing in an antimagic field.


Addendum 1: Any magical properties of the pact weapon will be suppressed in the antimagic field

Even though pact of the blade is not a magical ability, the weapon it creates is magical:

[The pact weapon] counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Thus, the weapon will have an interaction with antimagic field as is described in the spell effect:

The properties and powers of magic items are suppressed in the sphere. For example, a longsword, +1 in the sphere functions as a nonmagical longsword.

Being a magic item, the pact weapon will thus have its ability to overcome nonmagical damage resistance be suppressed (along with any other explicitly magical abilities the weapon might have). Still, it will not vanish.

Addendum 2: There appears to be an edge case with Improved Pact Weapon3

Improved Pact Weapon is an invocation that, among other things, allows the warlock to create bows as their pact weapon (which is not allowed by default). The tricky part comes from the fact that the book explicitly says that invocations are all magical abilities so it puts this as a difficult edge case.

It is not super clear what would happen if one were to walk into an antimagic field with a bow pact weapon that you created from nothing (not an from a real weapon). However, a reasonable outcome would be that the bow disappears in the field, but the warlock retains the ability to summon it back, just not in any of the forms granted by Improved Pact Weapon. And the forms will remain restricted until the warlock is out of the field.


1 - This might seem like a logical fallacy, but it follows the intent of WotC's own logic. For proof of this, see how the Sage Advice Compendium uses the rule above to analyze a dragon's cold breath attack to see if it is a magical ability:

Let’s look at a white dragon’s Cold Breath and ask ourselves those questions. First, Cold Breath isn’t a magic item. Second, its description mentions no spell. Third, it’s not a spell attack. Fourth, the word “magical” appears nowhere in its description. Our conclusion: Cold Breath is not considered a magical game effect, even though we know that dragons are amazing, supernatural beings.

2 - The Pact Magic and Eldritch Invocation features, on the other hand are both explicitly called out as being magical abilities and thus are suppressed in the antimagic field.

3 - Found, very cleverly by @Gandalfmeansme

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps include that the Pact Blade will no longer count as magical for defeating magical immunity as it relates to this twitter response from Jeremy Crawford, lead designer. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 4 '18 at 12:19
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It Depends...

If your pact weapon was created by magic, then it would blink out of existence while it is within the field. This is because you created the weapon via your magic, and the spell covers such items:

Creatures and Objects. A creature or object summoned or created by magic temporarily winks out of existence in the sphere. Such a creature instantly reappears once the space the creature occupied is no longer within the sphere. [PHB, p. 214]

Normally, pact weapons are not magically created: although they are created via extra-normal means, there is nothing in the description of their creation that specifies they are made by "magic". However, if your pact weapon was created via the aid of an Invocation, they are definitely created via magic:

In your study of occult lore, you have unearthed eldritch invocations, fragments of forbidden knowledge that imbue you with an abiding magical ability. [PHB, p. 107, bold added]

As such, a pact weapon created via the Improved Pact Weapon invocation (XGtE, p. 57) that could not have been created otherwise, such as a pact longbow, would blink out of existence in the field.

However, your pact weapon could be a melee weapon, or a previously existing magical weapon that you changed into your pact weapon "by performing a special ritual" [PHB, p. 108]. In those (more typical) cases, the weapon would simply become a mundane weapon, but would still exist within the field.

As evidence that the weapon would at the very least become mundane and no longer count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance to nonmagical attacks (even though the creation of the pact weapon is not explicitly described as magical), note that sage advice has stated that attacks which are made magical via class features (like the Monk's Ki Empowered Strikes) are no longer magical within an Antimagic Field.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 4 '18 at 5:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ How did you determine that the blade was created by magic? It is a vital part of answering this question and I can't find any support for that interpretation. So, if you could add some support in there for where the rules say it is magic, your answer would be much improved. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 4 '18 at 9:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I have not found support for the idea that the creation of the pact weapon is magical in the general case. But I have included a subset of pact weapons whose creation is decidedly magical. Those created via an Invocation. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Apr 4 '18 at 15:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose: Ah, but "Improved Pact Weapon" is an invocation, and allows the warlock to create a ranged pact weapon, which they cannot normally do. Thus, the created ranged pact weapon is created via magic. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Apr 4 '18 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ahhhh very clever and hard to argue against. Very nice! That is a very interesting edge case... The way I'm thinking about it right now is that the bow would vanish but the weapon could still be summoned back like normal, just not in any of the forms granted by the invocation. So in essence it doesn't vanish for good, it just loses some forms. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 4 '18 at 15:20

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