SRD, page 76 - Opportunity Attack:

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach.

This question indicates that an Opportunity Attack is made when a creature moves behind Total Cover while within reach of an enemy:

Does moving behind full cover count as "leaving the opponent's reach" for purposes of opportunity attacks?

The rules also say, SRD, page 76 - Opportunity Attack:

The attack occurs right before the creature leaves your reach.

SRD, page 77 - Cover:

A target with three-quarters cover has a +5 bonus to AC and Dexterity saving throws. A target has three-quarters cover if about three-quarters of it is covered by an obstacle.

If the Target is leaving the Creature's Reach by moving behind a wall, and the Opportunity Attack is taken just before this occurs, would the Creature receive the benefits of three-fourths Cover since much of their body is behind the obstacle at the point the Opportunity Attack is made?

Another situation this question is relevant to is burrowing creatures & ethereal creatures.


1 Answer 1


The target is still in their original space and receives no benefit from cover they are moving towards

The attack is triggered by the attempt to move out of your reach; definitionally if it didn't take effect before the target moved to the new square, the attacker could not make the attack (because the one being attacked would be out of reach already).

Since the attack occurs while they're still in their original space, they receive no benefit from any cover they might be moving into.

The idea behind opportunity attacks is that they are a way to punish people who retreat without being careful to defend themselves as they go (e.g. with the Disengage action); they haven't moved yet when you attack them (assuming your reach is 5'), they've just dropped their guard in preparation for running away, which is when the opportunity attack occurs.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed on all counts - OA are one of the strange timing issues in 5e where the attack happens when an opponent would be moving out of reach in the future, but they are resolved when they are still fully in reach, and some abilities can then even cancel them leaving reach without creating infinite loops. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 14, 2022 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Topical but not relevant for answering a rules question: There is some interesting footage from lindybeige where he discusses that opportunity attacks are a leftover from mass battle rules, because in a real 1:1 fight it is very, very difficult to try and hit an opponent who suddenly runs off. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2022 at 6:18

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