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Joe the Barbarian was at ground level when he was caught in an enemy's Tsunami spell. The wave is as high as the spell allows.

Is Joe automatically moved to the air-water interface at the top of the wave? Or is he submerged and counting his "holding one's breath" time?

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No, the spell does not lift up creatures inside the area of effect.

The Tsunami spell's description does not report any effect regarding pushing creature towards the upper part of the wall. If Joe wants to reach the top of the wall, he has to swim his way up, making a successful Strength check per the spell description (otherwise, he cannot move by swimming).

For comparison, see the Whirlwind spell:

When a creature starts its turn restrained by the whirlwind, the creature is pulled 5 feet higher inside it, unless the creature is at the top.

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