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At level 20, Druids get access to the following feature:

Archdruid

At 20th level, you can use your Wild Shape an unlimited number of times.

Additionally, you can ignore the verbal and somatic components of your druid spells, as well as any material components that lack a cost and aren’t consumed by a spell. You gain this benefit in both your normal shape and your beast shape from Wild Shape

The emphasis is on the fact that you can ignore verbal, somatic and non-consumed material components, which makes these spells imperceptible, as per Xanathar:

If the need for a spell’s components has been removed by a special ability, such as the sorcerer’s Subtle Spell feature or the Innate Spellcasting trait possessed by many creatures, the casting of the spell is imperceptible.

Counterspell requires you to be able to see a creature casting:

Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell.

As a result, it seems to me that it is impossible to ever counterspell a level 20 druid unless they use a material component that is consumed.

Am I missing something? Is the level 20 Druid feature essentially 'become immune to counterspell' as a hidden bonus? Or is there still a way to counterspell them?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would you read "see a creature" as perceive? \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Jan 7 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? Is Innate Spellcasting counterspellable? \$\endgroup\$ – Corsaka Jan 7 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Corsaka While it's technically not a duplicate, I don't mind accepting that one was a duplicate because it has the same underlying logic as to why they can't be counterspelled and google results will still let people find this answer as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Jan 7 at 11:46
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Level 20 druids cannot be counterspelled1

As you point out, the spell counterspell specifies that it can only be cast

when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell.

And since a spell cast without any components is "imperceptible" (as per your XGtE quote), then it is impossible for the counterspell's casting requirements to be met.

Therefore, the counterspell spell cannot be cast in response to a level 20 druid casting spells, and the druid is effectively immune to being counterspelled1. To prevent a level 20 druid from casting spells, you'd need to turn to other means of shutting down their magic, such as antimagic field and such.


1 ...unless the druid casts a spell that uses a material component with a specified cost or a material component that is consumed.


This is the same reasoning used in the similar Q&A related to Mystics: Can Counterspell be used to prevent a Mystic from using a Discipline?

See also the end of the answer to this question: Is Innate Spellcasting counterspellable? (credit to Corsaka for finding this)

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This probably warrants it's own question, but can one react to otherwise imperceptible events if under the effect of Detect Thoughts, or something similar? \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jan 7 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 Ooh, interesting. I'd still say no, given that the requirement of counterspell says "when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell.", so even if you know that the druid plans on casting a spell via detect thoughts, you still don't actually see them cast it. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jan 7 at 18:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS I'd argue in the case of Detect Thoughts that you would be able to Counterspell. I think the intention of the spell is that it's cast as another caster is in the process of casting a spell, whether or not you actually see them doing it. I don't necessarily think this point of view is even against RAW. Just because you don't see them waving their arms around doesn't mean they're not casting a spell. You still see a creature (who is) .. casting a spell. As long as you see them and have some way of knowing that they're casting, I would argue Counterspell would still work. \$\endgroup\$ – Ahndwoo Jan 7 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ahndwoo That's how I read it, also--you need the target and the knowledge of what they're doing. Personally, I would consider both of these actually to be optional--same as you can attack something you merely think is there, I would permit you to counterspell a fireball from 5 squares in front of you--but it would be totally wasted unless there was a caster in that square throwing a fireball. Without other information channels that's obviously an exercise in futility, but I see no reason to prohibit it. \$\endgroup\$ – Loren Pechtel Jan 8 at 0:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ahndwoo I see, you mean parsing that sentence differently. Obviously I have a bias for how I've already interpreted it, but despite that, I'd say that to parse it such that the sentence is effectively two requirements ("creature you can see" and "casting a spell"), I'd argue that they may have worded it: "when you see a creature within 60 feet of you that is casting a spell." or similar. However, I'm no English language expert; to go into it in more detail would probably be better done by someone who understands the nuances better than me (I've seen good answers by SevenSidedDie on that). \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jan 9 at 13:13

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