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Animate objects states a condition for ending the animation and control of the constructs:

Each target animates and becomes a creature under your control until the spell ends or until reduced to 0 hit points.

Dispel magic says:

Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range. Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends. For each spell of 4th level or higher on the target, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell's level. On a successful check, the spell ends.

If a character casts dispel magic on one of ten tiny constructs animated by animate objects, does that end the animate objects spell, and thereby end the animation of the other 9 constructs as well?

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Dispel Magic would work on One Construct At a Time

Dispel Magic's text has makes a crucial distinction:

Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range. Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends. (PHB p. 234, bold added)

The later description of higher level spells is subject to the same restriction: specifically, it ends spells on a target, but may not end the entire spell.

Jeremy Crawford has issued some guidance on this matter:

Dispel magic ends spells on a target, not on every target affected by the same spell.

And has further clarified elsewhere:

When you use dispel magic to target a magical effect within range, you're choosing a discrete effect that you're aware of, often one created by a spell. If a spell has put an ongoing effect on multiple creatures, each of those creatures bears a discrete, targetable effect.

As such, a casting of Dispel Magic on a construct of Animate Objects would cause that object to become inanimate, but would not end the spells effects on other targets.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Another good reason to use Tiny objects (as if you needed more.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 24 '18 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup. I mean, If you were willing to spend a 3rd level spell slot to end this spell, Fireball (on the small/tiny objects) or magic missile (on the caster) would usually also work. But there can be extenuating circumstances which make those spells inconvenient/unavailable. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Oct 24 '18 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is also similar to spells that affect multiple targets and give each target a saving throw to end the effect, such as slow. If one target makes their save and ends the effect on themselves, the spell continues for other affected targets. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Oct 24 '18 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ True. Although in the case of slow (and some other spells), the text states that if the target succeeds on the saving throw "the effect ends for it." The wording of Dispel Magic is definitely more ambiguous, so I understand why the question originally came up. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Oct 24 '18 at 18:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, spending a 3rd level to try and end it. It's a 5th level spell, so you'd still need to make the DC15 ability check. Unless you upcast it as a 5th. But that's plain silly. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 24 '18 at 18:17

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