Our paladin attacks an enemy wizard. He used shield to block the paladin's attack. Knowing we are dealing with a magic user, I've readied dispel magic beforehand when an enemy is casting a spell, and dispel the shield.

Is the shield negated and now the attack hits (and deals damage)?


Yes you could dispel it, but the initial attack would still miss

The DMG has guidance on when Readied actions (and reactions and triggers in general) occur:

follow whatever timing is specified in the reaction's description. For example, the opportunity attack and the shield spell are clear about the fact that they can interrupt their triggers. If a reaction has no timing specified, or the timing is unclear, the reaction occurs after its trigger finishes, as in the Ready action. (DMG p. 252, bold added)

Your dispel magic spell could certainly remove the shield spell from a target (so they wouldn't have a +5 to AC for the rest of the round): but it could only do so after the shield spell had been successfully cast. And the casting of the shield spell will disrupt the initial attack which triggered it.

If you want to stop the Shield spell from taking effect at all, use counterspell, not dispel magic, as suggested in the Sage Advice Compendium, p. 15 (which also wouldn't require you to Ready a spell, spending both an action and a spell slot before you're sure your enemy even intends to cast a spell).

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix It does not matter how fast you dispel the shield, because the moment the shield spell is cast is the same moment that the triggering hit is turned into a miss. You need to prevent the casting of shield altogether and to do that you need counterspell. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Oct 25 '18 at 6:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ However, the paladin doesn't have counterspell, but does have dispel. And prepping the ready action would also mean forgoing their attack for a round which may not be the best choice unless their closing distance and can't attack anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 25 '18 at 11:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer is basically perfect, but I suggest one addition: note that if readied dispel magic could be used in the way the OP is asking then it would effectively render counterspell obsolete. You strongly imply this, but it might be worth making explicit. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Oct 25 '18 at 12:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodcinder I wouldn't quite go that far: a readied dispel magic would still have a higher "opportunity cost" than counterspell, since Reading a spell requires a full Action in addition to a Reaction, and requires a spell slot be spent speculatively (and wasted if the enemy doesn't cast a spell this round). But I do agree that it would be odd for the game designers to create the spell counterspell if dispel magic could work this way. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Oct 25 '18 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ *Readying, not "Reading." But you get my meaning. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Oct 25 '18 at 14:59

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