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When seen by detect magic, a polymorphed beast will glow magical (Transmutation). Since the creature is magical, do their attacks count as magical for overcoming resistances?

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Usually no

A polymorphed beast has the stats of whatever it has been changed into. Unless the creature it is transformed into has some ability that makes their attacks magical, the creature's attacks are not inherently magical.

For example, a Barbed Devil, does not have any features that make its attacks magical. Nor does the more powerful Bone Devil. However, when we get to the extremely powerful Pit Fiend, we see the feature 'Magic Weapons', which states:

The pit fiend's weapon attacks are magical.

A general rule is that more powerful creatures, or creatures with a lot of magical lore, will exhibit a feature like this. Sometimes it will appear described as something else, like with the Deva's Angelic Weapons:

The deva's weapon attacks are magical. When the deva hits with any weapon, the weapon deals an extra 4d8 radiant...

The key to knowing if a creature's attacks (physical and ranged) are considered magical is some feature in the stat block says they are.


As an aside, I did a quick review of all the beasts available on DNDBeyond and could not find any beasts that had an ability similar to what I've described above. This does not mean that won't change in the future with the release of additional content, but for the purposes of this question, it seems that across the board all beasts' attacks are non-magical.

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No: polymorphing into a beast does not make the attacks magical

Here's the reasoning behind that answer.

  1. The polymorph spell turns a creature into a beast:

    The new form can be any beast whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target’s (or the target’s level, if it doesn’t have a challenge rating). The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast. It retains its alignment and personality.

    If you can find a beast where the stat block says that it has attacks which count as magical, then the answer will be yes for that beast form. (I have not found one yet, but there are some unusual beasts in published adventures and in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes that I can't check on just now.)

  2. If the spell did that - make the beast's attacks magical - it would say so in the spell's text.

    I point that out because for the druid's Wild Shape feature, which also turns a creature (the druid) into a beast, the 6th-level Circle of the Moon subclass feature Primal Strike does specify that attacks in beast form are magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance/immunity. Because they found the need to specify that, then it is rational to conclude that they would have specified that for the polymorphed creature-as-beast if it were also true in the case of the spell.

    But they didn't.

The beast's stat block governs what its attacks will or will not do.

Polymorph into a Dire Wolf? Use the Dire Wolf stat block.
Polymorph into an Octopus? Use the Octopus stat block.
And so on.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You have a superscripted "1" in your post, but no footnote corresponding to that. Does that relate to the comments above about the tressym from SKT (or not, since it doesn't have magical attacks)? I'm guessing you meant to include a footnote for that but forgot to actually include the footnote :P \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    May 25 '20 at 22:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast lemme check. That may have been a place holder until I could check Mord's. Mord's refers to some monstrosities as beasts in descriptive text. Which is IMO really screwed up. Footnote removed. \$\endgroup\$ May 25 '20 at 22:50

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