The mirror image spell creates 3 illusory duplicates of the caster, and states that an image vanishes if an attack is directed at it and beats its AC. Does that still work if the attack wouldn't normally do damage?

For example, ray of enfeeblement asks for an attack roll, but it doesn't actually do any damage on a hit. The main problem I have are the two following sentences from the description of mirror image:

A duplicate can be destroyed only by an attack that hits it. It ignores all other damage and effects.

The first sentence says it can be destroyed only by an attack that hits it - but destruction is a thing I associate with damage. The second sentence says it ignores other effects - and ray of enfeeblement causes an effect, not damage.


2 Answers 2


Yes, duplicates are destroyed even by any attack that hits, regardless of damage

The relevant portion of the mirror image spell description says:

A duplicate's AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier. If an attack hits a duplicate, the duplicate is destroyed. A duplicate can be destroyed only by an attack that hits it. It ignores all other damage and effects.

The sentence I've bolded is unqualified: if an attack hits the duplicate, it is destroyed. (The process for an attack targeting the duplicate is described in the previous paragraphs of the spell.) This is true whether it's an (unmodified) unarmed strike by someone with less than 10 Strength, a casting of ray of enfeeblement, an attack with a net, or some other attack that somehow deals 0 damage.

An attack that deals 0 damage is still considered a hit; whether it's a "hit" is determined by the attack roll, not the damage. As a result, even a hit with ray of enfeeblement or a punch/kick/headbutt by a weakling can destroy an illusory duplicate.

(Note that shoves and grapples can be changed to target a duplicate without destroying it, as they are contested skill checks, not attack rolls - and so they can't "hit".)


I see the spirit of it working the way other illusion spells work in D&D where once you touch it, perceive that it is an illusion, or in this case have an attack that would normally have hit it do nothing to it, then you know it is an illusion and see through it, thus it no longer exists to you, and you can tell everyone else it is an illusion so in essence it is destroyed. So the way I see it practically unfolding, is someone hits it damaging or not, it has no effect and the illusion drops as if the caster doesn't see any point in keeping a revealed illusion up any further. The RAW differs a little from some other illusions, but I see it being for simplicity sake that the revealed illusion just disappears instead remaining semi-transparent.


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