Mage Hand "can't attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds." (PHB 256). Can Mage Hand be attacked? Part of me says that Mage Hand is simply unable to engage in combat as a combatant but can passively engage in combat as a target (and, thus, damage would be computed as for an ordinary inanimate object), but part of me says that saying that Mage Hand cannot attack is essentially implying that it cannot take part in combat at all in any capacity or that it exists outside of the combat system.

Can Mage Hand be the target of a combat action? E.g. can a creature swing a club at a Mage Hand that it sees pass by or come within range? Obviously, the Mage Hand can't retaliate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ [Related] Can a Spectral Weapon take damage? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2018 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ [Related] what happens when a mage hand touches a mimic? possibly a dupe considering the linked question answers this question, among other things \$\endgroup\$
    – Will M.
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 20:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WillM. IMO, not a dupe since the fact that it was already answered there is only due to the answer being more complete than needed, while the question itself is pretty different. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep, we only duplicate matching questions, not different questions with matching answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2018 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


Mechanically, it can't

Similar to the argument here, the Mage Hand has no stat block, it has no AC, no HP, so it doesn't make much sense to consider it attackable. Thinking in game terms, it's neither a creature nor an object, which are the usual targets for spells or attacks.

As a comparison, check Bigby's Hand:

The hand is an object that has AC 20 and hit points equal to your hit point maximum. If it drops to 0 hp, the spell ends. It has a Strength of 26 (+8) and a Dexterity of 10 (+0). The hand doesn't fill its space.

So, if the "thing" created by a spell is supposed to be targetable, something on these lines should be written.

As the DM would have to "make up" an AC and HP for it, as well as the consequences for its HP reaching zero, it's clearly intended that it can't be a target, since Spells only do what they say. Further indication of it is that the conditions when the spell ends are clearly defined:

The hand lasts for the duration or until you dismiss it as an action. The hand vanishes if it is ever more than 30 feet away from you or if you cast this spell again.

Meaning that reaching 0 HP shouldn't mean it would vanish (as the only written conditions for vanishing are these).

It... might?

Now, rethinking my answer, there is one thing: the lack of AC and HP doesn't mean something can't be "targeted". A creature could decide to "attack" the air, or the water in a river or the ground, with no effects whatsover. The same could be ruled to the Mage Hand - creatures could try to target it and attack it, it just would be the same as attacking nothing.

Now, would they? In most situations, I wouldn't rule that my creatures decide to attack the hand, since wasting their actions for nothing would make the cantrip stronger than it should be.

So, even though it is technically possible that the creatures choose to attack it, usually they shouldn't, mainly from metagaming/balance perspective.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps it's worthy of adding the case where the hand is carrying something. I guess the object would just replace the hand in the targetting/damage sense. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2018 at 7:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the hand does not have AC and cannot take damage, then why can't it just carry around a sphere of annihilation and touch people with it? \$\endgroup\$
    – user47897
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkTO first of all, the fact that a Sphere of Annihilation can't be carried. "The Sphere is stationary until someone controls it." - and then proceeds to explain how to control it, which does not involve, in any way, actually carrying it. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do traps cause mage hand to vanish? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 5:10

I think it's important to draw a distinction between 2 parts of an attack.

  1. Can a creature spend its action swinging at the mage hand?
  2. Can the mage hand be affected by an attack?

Can a mage hand be attacked?

The answer to the first part is, of course, yes. A mage hand is visible (unless you are an arcane trickster or have a similar feat). A creature being pestered by the hand may not know that it is a magical effect and may spend its turn swatting at it or trying to attack it.

As far as whether or not someone could target the hand with a spell, Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p 85) has the following:

If you cast a spell on someone or something that can’t be affected by the spell, nothing happens to that target, but if you used a spell slot to cast the spell, the slot is still expended.

Either way, since it does not have an AC, the attack would automatically miss, or the attack would go right through the hand just as if it was an illusion.

Can a mage hand be affected by an attack?

Mechanically, no. A mage hand is a magical effect. It is limited to its description. It has no AC and no HP. It cannot take damage.

Although not written in any official source, Mike Mearls, the senior manager for the D&D research and design team, agrees with this assessment. When asked what happens when a mage hand is attacked, he replied with[1]:

nothing - mage hand can't take damage or really affect the environment beyond what spell says

But, I don't like that

That's the beauty of D&D. The rules are meant as a guideline, so you can make up whatever rules you want for the game. Create an AC, HP, and any immunities/vulnerabilities etc. that make sense. To quote Mike Mearls again, he suggested[2]:

if I allowed attack, I'd say AC 16, hp = to caster's level + casting mod, immune to everything but force damage


Can a mage hand be attacked? yes

Can a mage hand take damage? no

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Regarding your paragraph about spells trying to target mage hand, note that Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 85) does have optional guidelines on handling invalid spell targets: "If you cast a spell on someone or something that can’t be affected by the spell, nothing happens to that target, but if you used a spell slot to cast the spell, the slot is still expended." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 4:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @V2Blast, I wasn't aware of that. I will update my answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 5:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Love this answer. But I think it all becomes especially clear f you contrast it with "Unseen Servant", which absolutel can be attacked and destroyed by it \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 10:35

Mage Hand is able to be attacked by something or someone because the spell doesn't say anywhere in the description that it can't be attacked. The spell doesn't say that the Mage Hand has hit points or an AC though, so if it was attacked it would be like waving your weapon at air or casting a spell at air.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Spells cannot normally be attacked though - you can't bat away an incoming fireball, nor slash through Leomund's Tiny Hut. There are spells that specifically state that they can be attacked (such as Bigby's), so I don't think I agree with this conclusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shadow
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could swing at them but nothing could also happen. I'm not saying that you can bat away a fireball or slash through a Leomund's Tiny Hut. I'm saying that you could swing at Mage Hand but nothing could happen. It'd be like swinging at air. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2018 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Point taken - but, mechanically, swinging through the air is not an attack. So I guess it depends on if you interpret the word 'attack' as the action, or as fluff/roleplay for being distracted on your turn. Sounds like you are suggesting the latter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shadow
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 2:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Sorry for any confusion I caused. It just seemed that someone would say that they would try to attack it instead that they are going to just swing at it roleplay wise. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2018 at 3:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ In game terms, an attack involves an attack roll. It does not have an AC, so there is no way to resolve an attack roll. Therefore, it cannot be attacked. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 12:51

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