Wind Wall says: "The strong wind keeps fog, smoke, and other gases at bay."

Cone of Cold says: "A blast of cold air erupts from your hands."

Given Cold of Cold is cold air, and air is just a mix of gases, is it stopped by a Wind Wall?


4 Answers 4


Cone of Cold is not affected by Wind Wall.

The text of Wind Wall says (emphasis mine):

A wall of strong wind rises from the ground at a point you choose within range. [...] The strong wind keeps fog, smoke, and other gases at bay.

Strong Wind is a game term, check the DMG (page 110):

Strong Wind

A strong wind imposes disadvantage on ranged weapon attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing. A strong wind also extinguishes open flames, disperses fog, and makes flying by nonmagical means nearly impossible. A flying creature in a strong wind must land at the end of its turn or fall.

There are other spells that magically produce strong wind, such as Storm of Vengeance, Gust of Wind. When a spell which magically creates gas or fog interacts or is affected by strong wind, its description specifies it. As an example, have a look at Stinking Cloud's text:

You create a 20-foot-radius sphere of yellow, nauseating gas centered on a point within range. [...] A strong wind (at least 20 miles per hour) disperses it after 1 round.

There are other spells that have a similar interaction: Cloudkill, Pyrotechnics, Skywrite.

The Cone of Cold spell does not present any of the above wording, or text that specifies the interaction with strong winds, hence it can bypass the wind wall.

As a DM, considering the wording of the spells and the relative difference in power (5th level against 3rd level), I would rule that Cone of Cold bypasses the Wind Wall, but the latter grants advantage to the saving throw.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ You gave a good rules supported answer, also adding how you would rule at your table is fine and you’ve earned the right with the analysis. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 15:32

Yes, Wind Wall blocks Cone of Cold

As answered in this question all text in the spell description is rules text. You quote the relevant passages of both spells. Wind Wall keeps gases at bay and a blast of cold air is a blast of gas.

The relevant portion of the spell does not just rely on standard rules regarding Strong Wind, in which case Cone of Cold would not be affected. Instead, it specifies other effects including the one you cited.

The strong wind keeps fog, smoke, and other gases at bay...

So yes, Wind Wall would block Cone of Cold

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since gases are kept at bay and following this reason air is gas, then a Wind Wall, suitably placed, and other spells (such as Gust of Wind) may be used for suffocating people: but nothing in the spell text induces this effect, and to the best of my knowledge there are no spells that suffocate targets. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 20:05

Check with your DM

Terms that have no game specific definition are to be interpreted by their common English meaning. So, cold air is a gas, and wind wall blocks gases. Is that enough?

First, there is no flavor text in spells. Still, some parts of the spell, often the first sentence, may be more flavorful and can cause issues if taken literally. For example, look at this question if you can cast burning hands while holding a staff, where normally holding your spell focus and having a free hand should be sufficient to cast the spell.

Cone of Cold says:

A blast of cold air erupts from your hands. Each creature in a 60-foot cone must make a Constitution saving throw.

There is a full stop between these two sentences. The spell text does not say that the blast of cold air is what is causing the saving throw, altough it certainly is strongly implied. If you interpret this to mean it is the cold air causing the freeze, then yes, Wind Wall will block it. If you read this as two independent effects, firstly, a blast of cold air erupts from your hands, and secondly, everyone in the area must make a saving throw, then no, Wind Wall will not block it.

Eddymage's answer makes a good case that several other spells that create gases and are dispersed by strong wind like the one wind wall creates say so explicitly (e.g. Stinking Cloud or Cloudkill) , and Cone of Cold's blast of strong air does not say that; and by analogy if it were affected by such a wind, it should say so. Still, this is somewhat indirect, tringulating from what other spells say.

Since there is room for interpretation here, the DM will have to decide how they read it.

I think the intendend way this works is likely that it would not block Cone of Cold. However, if I were your DM, I would rule Wind Wall blocks Cone of Cold. Wind Wall is a rarely used spell (at least in my experience), and can use all the help it can get to be more useful. Another DM however might prefer to let the wall not block Cone's effect.

P.S. You could argue that Cone of Cold is a much higher level spell at spell level 5 instead of 3, and therefore more powerful and should not be blocked, but there is no rule in the game that higher level spells always trump lower level ones; the only rule for this is when you compare two different sources of the same effect, and try to determine which one wins (Combining Magical Effects, PHB p. 204).

  • \$\begingroup\$ @nobody_the_hobgoblin Can someone make the argument that a wall of wind is an obstacle? If it is, then it falls into the wall of force ruling, in that obstacles block line of effect and thus block wall of cold... Wall of force does not explicity state that its an obstacle but does grant "cover". So does wind wall grand cover and thus blocks spells? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you used the same link twice by mistake. Your 1-free-hand burning hands link goes to What is the source for defaulting to plain English readings of non-game terms? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 14:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @PlayPatrice: I don't think there's much justification for Wind Wall being cover or an obstruction. You'd have to argue that you couldn't e.g. psychic lance or hold person a creature on the other side of it. But it's just moving air, it's only an obstacle to some light-weight physical projectiles. It's hard to see any narrative reason why it would block line of effect for spells that don't involve any kind of physical thing moving between the caster and the target. Or that it would stop magic missile or eldritch blast. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes Fixed, thank you! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 18:33

Can a Wind Wall keep a Cone of Cold from affecting someone on the other side?

Several things in the descriptions you've posted at play here answer that question, but first, the real clincher is this - Wind Wall is 3rd level and Cone of Cold is 5th level. Higher level spells are usually unimpeded by lower level spells. There are exceptions which are written into a spells description. But in this specific case, "blast" is stronger than "strong". Wind Wall would affect a Cloudkill, as "It lasts for the duration or until strong wind disperses the fog, ending the spell." Interacting with the Wind Wall would disperse it at point of contact. That's in the spell description.

So, in short, a Cone of Cold would blast through a Wind Wall affecting those on the other side at full effect.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While I also suggest looking at spell levels as a determining factor, this answer could be improved by clarifying whether that's just your take on things, or if there is support for that idea in the rules. (I am not the downvoter, but I reserve the right to downvote later.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 4:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You say Higher level spells are usually unimpeded by lower level spells. There are exceptions which are written into a spells description. But there's no general rule about that. Spells don't have to spell out exceptions to this non-existent rule. For example, Tiny Hut just says "Spells and other magical effects can't extend through the dome or be cast through it." This includes higher-level spells like cloudkill (5th), firestorm (7th), or Tidal Wave (8th). Tiny Hut's wording doesn't imply "of 3rd level or lower". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 15:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or do you mean when there's only indirect narrative reason to guess that spells might interact, not when they actually say they block other spells? That's still not an actual rule. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 15:12

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