Does Eldritch Canon count as an enemy for purposes of sneak attack?

What I mean by this is, if I was an Artillerist Artificer and a Rogue (multiclassing), would I be able to use my Eldritch cannon in order to gain the additional sneak attack damage? Sneak attack states that:

Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe's distraction. Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. You don't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and you don't have disadvantage on the attack roll.

(emphasis mine)

The object of uncertainty, at least to me, seems to be in whether eldritch cannon is counted as an enemy, as needed by the secondary trigger for sneak attack. Eldritch cannon states that:

Eldritch Cannon

At 3rd level, you learn how to create a magical cannon. Using woodcarver's tools or smith's tools, you can take an action to magically create a Small or Tiny eldritch cannon in an unoccupied space on a horizontal surface within 5 feet of you. A Small eldritch cannon occupies its space, and a Tiny one can be held in one hand.

Once you create a cannon, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest or until you expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher. You can have only one cannon at a time and can't create one while your cannon is present.

The cannon is a magical object. Regardless of size, the cannon has an AC of 18 and a number of hit points equal to five times your artificer level. It is immune to poison damage, psychic damage, and all conditions. If it is forced to make an ability check or a saving throw, treat all its ability scores as 10 (+0). If the mending spell is cast on it, it regains 2d6 hit points. It disappears if it is reduced >to 0 hit points or after 1 hour. You can dismiss it early as an action.

Now, my question is, is an eldritch cannon counted as an enemy or not for the purposes of sneak attack, and doing sneak attack damage against a target?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What is considered an enemy for an Orc's Aggressive trait? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 10:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think that an answer to this question would also apply to enemy-piloted vehicles, since they're also Objects rather than Creatures. Would being adjacent to a wagon an enemy is piloting allow them to sneak attack you? \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 10:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 I'd say there is some validity to that idea, but at that point, normal combat rules would not really apply, owing to the fact that you are using a vehicle. If the vehicle has a person within it, if the person is within 5 ft, it would work, but otherwise, it wouldnt, even if an extension of it is within 5 ft, all that counts is the enemy. The question is really asking whether it would count as an enemy, as it is a special thing that is summoned, and as ive accepted already, it is an object and therefore cannot be considered an enemy. \$\endgroup\$
    – lukethecat
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


The eldritch canon would not qualify you to benefit from the second method of using sneak attack, unless your DM specifically allows for non-creature enemies.

You don't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and you don't have disadvantage on the attack roll.

The important part of the eldritch canon in this scenario is

The cannon is a magical object.

The eldritch canon is a magical object. While it has many unique properties that the artificer can activate which may seem like a creature. It is still just a magical object.

Below is an extensive list of how developers have made clear their intention that enemies are creatures in the PHB.

What is an Enemy?

It is no more a valid enemy for the target than if you had a magic sword or shield. I do not believe anyone would argue that using a magic sword automatically qualifies you for the sneak attack bonus. (and a sentient magic sword is much closer to a creature as it has its own personality)

Some important tweets on the subject: Enemies and allies

The illusion of Invoke Duplicity isn't a creature, an enemy, or an ally. It doesn't interact with Sneak Attack.

While not officially Rules as Written, Jeremy Crawford is the rules designer and his answers were considered official rulings, while no longer official, they still give useful insight into the developers mindset. This implies that creatures are enemies and allies.

Spiritual Weapon Sneak Attack Here he confirms that spiritual weapon does not count as an enemy.

Finally, a tweet specifying "ally" here

A friendly creature—that’s a creature who’s friendly to you. The rules sometimes call those creatures your allies. They’re definitely not your enemies.

The term ally and enemy are often used in the same rules. It would be unusual for ally to be restricted to creatures, and enemy to be open to anything you do not care for.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So hypothetically if I were attacking someone else's eldritch cannon would it not be my enemy? Further the Jerramy Crawford tweet says "The illusion of Invoke Duplicity isn't a creature, an enemy, or an ally." This doesn't seem to suggest that an enemy must be a creature just that an illusion is neither an enemy NOR a creature. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 12:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you attacked someone's sword (to break it or disarm them) you would consider the sword an enemy? I would consider its wielder the enemy, and the sword as just a tool. Because if you consider any object in use by an enemy to also itself be an enemy, then the rogues second sneak attack option is almost always available in melee, as they need a weapon to make a sneak attack, and those weapons are enemies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daveman
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 12:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ A sword doesn't have an AC or hit points, nor can a sword take actions of it's own or move. The cannon has 18AC 5*Art lv HP immunity to poison and psychic damage as well as all conditions as well as ability scores of 10 (+0) for ability checks and saving throws. Definitely not like a sword, much more like an animal companion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 18:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ The eldritch canon can take no actions on its own. It requires your bonus action to act. And a sword does have AC and HP. In the dmg it gives rules for attacking objects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daveman
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 18:22

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