Spiritual weapon claims that you make a melee spell attack against a target adjacent to your spiritual weapon. The rules for attacking while being unseen state that if the target cannot see you, you gain advantage on your attack against them.

Does this mean that if the enemy can't see you (such as if you were in complete darkness), but they can see your spiritual weapon, you gain advantage to attack them with the spiritual weapon bonus-action attack?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Does Spiritual Weapon ignore cover? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 16 '18 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Thank you, that contains enough reference to answer my question, in a sort of roundabout way. Much appreciated! Still, bonus points to whoever wants to use it to answer this in a formal manner. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Oct 16 '18 at 22:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Glad to help! Since that question isn't a duplicate of this one, you should self-answer this question with your understanding of the relevant info :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 16 '18 at 22:35

The weapon, most likely.

Crawford says "Yes" (for whatever that's worth) to this question:

caster could leave the room and leave a spiritual weapon floating in the doorway for a minute w/ disadv to hit?

Unpacking a little: the attacker in this case (the caster who's left the room) has disadvantage to hit. This implies that they do not get advantage for the target being unable to see them, but they do get disadvantage for being unable to see the target.

The obvious reason for the asymmetry is that the attack is actually happening at the target's position, not the caster's. The spiritual weapon itself is visible (it looks like a specific kind of weapon) and is the immediate source of the attack. If the caster is out of the room, they can't aim accurately, but the defender can see the attack coming just fine.

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Spiritual weapon obeys line of sight rules with you as the Caster/Attacker

Jeremy Crawford has explained that spiritual weapon ignores cover, but obeys any visibility concerns. Visibility is determined based strictly on the line of sight between the caster and the target.

Crawford: The spell doesn't require you to see its target. It follows the normal rules for attacking a target you can't see.

Questioner: caster could leave the room and leave a spiritual weapon floating in the doorway for a minute w/ disadv to hit?

Crawford: Yes, assuming there's actually something there to hit.

And the rules for attacking while unseen:

When you attack a target that you can't see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. This is true whether you're guessing the target's location or you're targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn't in the location you targeted, you automatically miss, but the GM typically just says that the attack missed, not whether you guessed the target's location correctly.

When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it. If you are hidden–both unseen and unheard–when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Since it's been explained that attacking while you can't see the target would impose disadvantage, and the circumstances for the advantage/disadvantage both depend on the line of sight between you (the caster) and the target, you would have advantage to hit the target with spiritual weapon if the target cannot see you (and disadvantage if you can't see the target).

This could be explained through the target not recognizing your bonus action to strike, much in the same way that a fire bolt or an arrow shot from the darkness could be seen, while occurring too suddenly to react to.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure you're reading Crawford's answer correctly. He's talking about a scenario where the caster and the target are in separate rooms. Presumably in that case neither of them can see each other, but the attacker still has disadvantage. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Oct 16 '18 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells That's a definite possibility, but you can also have both advantage and disadvantage on the same roll (netting to be a standard attack). There's not much clarification whether advantage was provided or not since the primary concern was cover, not the unseen attacker rules, so I assume it follows the standard LoS rules of only caring about visibility between the caster and the target. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Oct 16 '18 at 23:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil Does attacking with the spirit weapon immediately let the target know where the caster is? \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Oct 17 '18 at 13:06

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