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Counterspell checks are unmodified Ability Checks made when the spell you are attempting to stop is higher level than your Counterspell:

If it is casting a spell of 4th level or higher, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level. On a success, the creature’s spell fails and has no effect.

The Context

My oneshot party (tier 4 play) is preparing to fight an enemy with an enormous amount of extremely high level spells. As a result I thought to compile a list of all the ways that we could increase the chance that our lower level Counterspells could make a dent into this. When a 9th level spell is cast DC 19 is not amazing odds with ~35% chance of success.

So what is the maximum bonus I could gain to my Counterspell checks?

I am interested in Magic Items, buffing spells and class features are all great. So far ideas I have had include: Jack of All Trades, Bardic Inspiration, Emboldening Bond and Artificer Flash of Genius. As well as the spells Guidance and Enhance Ability. Also since there is a potential for spell slots higher than level 9 I am curious, as a thought experiment, how high we can get these Counterspell checks?

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2 Answers 2

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Maximum average bonus to check if team supports: +61

  • Maximized Charisma: +10 with 5 x Tome of Leadership and Influence
  • Maximized Wisdom: +10 with 5 x Tome of Understanding, needs Fey Wanderer Ranger 3 for Otherworldly Glamour which allows you to add Wisdom bonus to Charisma ability checks [credit to @nben]
  • Jack of All Trades: +3 (half profciency bonus) needs Bard 2 (you need College of Lore Bard 6 or Bard 10 to get access to Counterspell via Magical Secrets)
  • Dark Ones Own Luck +5.5 from +d10, needs Fiend warlock 6 (usable only once per rest)
  • Fortune of the Many +3 from Hobgolin race (usable 6 times/long rest)
  • Luckstone: +1
  • Ioun Stone of Mastery: +1

Team support, some costing their reaction, bonus action, or action. Inspiration and flash of genius are also limited uses per rest.

  • Flash of Genius (reaction): +10 from maxed Intelligence, needs 5 Tomes of Clear Thought, Artificer 7
  • Bardic Inspiration (bonus action): +3.5 from +d6 or +6.5 from +d12, needs at least Bard 1, Bard 15 for full
  • Emboldening Bond (free, 1/turn while active): +2.5 from d4, needs Peace Cleric 1
  • Guidance (action, concentration): +2.5 from +d4, needs Cleric/Druid/Artificer 1
  • Bend Luck (reaction) +2.5 from +d4, needs Wild Magic sorcerer 6
  • Lost Crown of Belsimer (bonus action) +3.5 from d6, 3 charges

Characters to sanity check reaction/bonus action loadout:
Lore bard 6/Fiend warlock 6/Fey Wanderer ranger 3/any 5 can counterspell
Bard 15/Peace Cleric 1/any 4 (action, bonus, free) can counterspell
Wild Magic sorcerer 6/wizard 14 (reaction, bonus with Crown)
Artificer 7/any 13 (reaction)

Total expected bonus: +10 +10 +3 +5.5 +3 +1 +1 +10 +6.5 +2.5 +2.5 + 2.5 +3.5 = +61
Minimum: +44
Maximum: +78

This assumes no epic boons, such as Boon of Luck.

The Lucky feat could also be used for advantage on at least 3 of these checks, net effect depends on spell level, I leave it out as it is limited in uses. Likewise, the Help action by a team member can grant Advantage.

An Abjuration Wizard 10 would get +6 via proficiency from Improved Abjuration [credit to @Eric], but uses Intelligence for Spellcasting, and could not profit from the +10 from Fey Wanderer's Wisdom bonus. Proficiency bonuses also do not stack, so you cannot benefit from both that and Jack of all Trades.

That said, it might be more effective to have a lower bonus, and instead have multiple people counterspell, for example if the opponent has legendary actions to cast more spells. To beat DC 19 reliably, all you need is to get to +18 on the roll, and a max Int Abjuration Wizard gets to +18 by themselves with just magic items. Forgoing +2.5 from sorcerer adds a third reaction available for counterpell. In practice you probably do not even need to go to +18, as you can withold Bardic Inspiration and other boosters for the few cases where you fail the check.

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Simple solution:

  1. Be a Warlock or Bard with +4 (18) to Charisma
  2. Cast Glibness (8th Level spell)
  3. Cast Counterspell with minimum possible roll of 19
  4. Profit

Glibness:

Until the spell ends, when you make a Charisma check, you can replace the number you roll with a 15. Additionally, no matter what you say, magic that would determine if you are telling the truth indicates that you are being truthful.

Use the other answers to bump your modifier even higher!

Now the only issue is making sure you have enough reactions between you and your team to counter Legendary Actions as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour and maybe visit the help center center to have some guidance for posting questions and answers here! Please, do not signal your edit in the answer: the history (the countercloskwise symbol on the left, under the score counter) is doing this job. To be honest, I find strange that your answer is being downvoted, it sounds correct to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Nov 18 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer! and I have decided to Shapechange into a Malilith to get myself enough reactions ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – JFreeman
    Nov 19 at 2:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JFreeman Cool idea. Just be careful, the Marilith gets more reactions per round, but only one per turn, so in the turn where you counter the spell, you still only get one. It can help if there are other casters around. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 19 at 8:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin One reaction per turn is enough to at least respond to each LA, I think. It just won't let you stack multiple counterspells at once. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 21 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin yep! I added Counterspell immunity (via a 9th level wish) to ensure my counterspells were not counterspelled! It was insanely broken and very enjoyable. Everyone at the table had a good laugh and the encounter was hard enough the party was very glad I had brought a Marilith along \$\endgroup\$
    – JFreeman
    Nov 23 at 0:55

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