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The Way of the Sun Soul monk (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 35) gets the Radiant Sun Bolt feature at 3rd level:

You gain a new attack option that you can use with the Attack action. This special attack is a ranged spell attack with a range of 30 feet.

They also get the Searing Arc Strike feature at 6th level:

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 2 ki points to cast the burning hands spell as a bonus action.

The Spell Sniper feat (PHB, p. 170) has the following prerequisite:

Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell

I was recently designing a Shadar-kai Monk who would take the Way of the Sun Soul archetype (ironic, I know). In the process, I began thinking about how he would benefit enormously from the Spell Sniper feat (increase his range from 30 to 60 ft). I then noticed the prerequisite on the feat and began thinking...

Does a ranged spell attack count as casting a spell (thus allowing the Sun Soul to pick up Spell Sniper at level 4)?

Or does the Sun Soul have to wait until he gains Searing Arc Strike at level 6 to qualify for Spell Sniper for his level 8 feat?

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The Sun Soul will have to wait until level 6 to qualify for Spell Sniper

A ranged spell attack is not the same as casting a spell. Several different sources could give a character the ability to use a ranged spell attack, but unless the feature says "cast [some spell]" it doesn't count.

Searing Arc Strike on the other hand explicitly says the monk casts the spell, so it makes the character qualify for the the Spell Sniper feat.

Note that Spell Sniper wouldn't enhance the range of Radiant Sun Bolt, because it's not a spell. It would make RSB ignore half and 3/4 cover, since that applies to all ranged spell attacks

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This was my thought as well, but figured I'd post it because it's an interesting and, AFAIK, unique position for a character to be put in. Certainly given the short range of Radiant Sun Bolt and the Sun Soul's presumed reliance on this ability throughout their career, Spell Sniper seems almost mandatory if feats are allowed in the campaign. And certainly most Sun Soul Monks would be looking to take this as early as possible. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshu's Mu Aug 23 '18 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joshu'sMu Note that Spell Sniper wouldn't enhance the range of Radiant Sun Bolt, because it's not a spell. It would make RSB ignore half and 3/4 cover, since that applies to all ranged spell attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Aug 23 '18 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right. I began reading that in a related question after I posted this. That is something of a bummer, but I think the Sun Soul is already an intensely powerful class, so I guess in the end it is fair... \$\endgroup\$ – Joshu's Mu Aug 23 '18 at 21:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joshu'sMu how is it powerful? \$\endgroup\$ – András Aug 24 '18 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András Between delivering ranged spell attacks that deal radiant damage (rarely, if ever, resisted) and being able to shoot radiant damage fireballs, they strike me as a class that can rely upon their abilities no matter the foe. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshu's Mu Aug 24 '18 at 23:01
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Not as soon as you hope, and not as well as you hope.

Any character who can cast a spell by any means qualifies for Spell Sniper. The ability to do so via Ki points still qualifies, you just have to wait until you actually have the ability (L6 in this case).

However, Radiant Sun Bolt's range will not benefit from Spell Sniper. That specific benefit requires "a spell that requires you to make an attack roll". Radiant Sun Bolt is very specifically still the Attack action - it is not a spell.

Radiant Sun Bolt will benefit from the cover mitigation, because that only affects "your ranged spell attacks".

There are other feats that work the same way. Crossbow Expert allows the character to avoid disadvantage for any ranged attack roll within 5 feet. It isn't restricted to just crossbows, despite the name of the feat.

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