The Shield Master feat contains this:

If you aren't incapacitated, you can add your shield's AC bonus to any Dexterity saving throw you make against a spell or other harmful effect that targets only you.

The Enhanced Defense infusion of the Artificer contains this:

A creature gains a +1 bonus to Armor Class while wearing (armor) or wielding (shield) the infused item.

The Repulsion Shield infusion of the Artificer contains this:

A creature gains a +1 bonus to Armor Class while wielding this shield.

Assuming I have the Shield Master feat, and I have a regular shield with an AC bonus of +2. If I infuse the shield with either Enhanced Defense or Repulsion Shield, what will my DEX saving throw against spells that target only me be?

Will it be +3 because the infusion increased the shield's AC bonus?

Or will it be +2 because the infusion's AC bonus is the infusion's AC bonus and the shield's AC bonus is still +2?


2 Answers 2


Yes, the AC bonus is available for Shield Master

The infusion turns your shield into a magic item, and that magic item in this case grants an increased AC. This is explained on p. 12 of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything under Infuse Item:

You've gained the ability to imbue mundane items with certain magical infusions, turning those objects into magic items.

The infusion is not a separate, independent thing, it is a property of the shield. As a result, you would benefit from the shield's improved AC for Shield Master.

The language of a "normal" magical shield +1, +2, or +3 is similar, it says "While holding this shield, you have a bonus to AC determined by the shield's rarity", it does not say the shield's AC bonus changes. So, unless you want to read this as meaning that a magical shield would not add more to your Dex save than a normal one, the infusion likewise will improve your Dex save. What counts for the feat is the overall bonus to AC delivered by the shield in either case.


Based on comments, if I could, I would downvote this answer despite making it myself. I'm leaving it up in case anyone else falls victim to the same confusion based on digital vs. physical source material.

No - when you equip a +1 shield, the shield's AC bonus is still 2.

Shield master is based explicitly on the AC of the shield, and this value isn't increased by any of the modifiers you've listed- rather, those modifiers apply directly to your total AC as a magical bonus, with the AC value of the shield remaining at 2 regardless of what rarity.

The actual reading for the text of a 'normal' magical +1 shield is as follows;

While holding this Shield, you have a +1 bonus to AC. This bonus is in addition to the shield's normal bonus to AC.

The text Groody quoted for the magical shield seems to come from wikidot, which while usable, tends to paraphrase. Check the Beyond stat block for the +1 shield; its AC value is still 2.

I would take a step further to say that the implication of specifically calling out this bonus in addition to the shield's normal bonus to AC is that they aren't cumulative- otherwise they would save on text and simply write "While holding this shield, you have a +3 bonus to AC" and make the AC value in the stat block a 3.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The text I quoted is from the Dungeon Master's Guide, not wikidot. In the DMG, there is actually no "Shield +1", only a "Shield +1, +2 or +3" with exactly that text. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2022 at 6:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ You say to check the +1 shield's stats on D&D Beyond but then link to Roll20. I believe you meant to link to this page instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Nov 15, 2022 at 13:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ It should be noted that DDB includes the description of a mundane shield below the magic item description on that page. The actual magic item description in the DMG does not include that part. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2022 at 22:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, if the wording of a +1 Shield were as you suggest in your last paragraph, it would not be able to function as a mundane shield in an antimagic field. We have to be able to separate the magical and mundane features of the shield, and your suggestion prevents that. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2022 at 22:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ And since you asked, DDB and my print DMG match exactly. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2022 at 22:45

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