My Circle of the Moon druid reached Level 10.

If I use Elemental Wild Shape to transform into an elemental, do my attacks count as magical?

Rules as written, it seems like the answer is No, as "Primal Strike" reads:

Starting at 6th level, your attacks in beast form count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

But is this intended?


3 Answers 3


On a second reading of Circle of the Moon, maybe it is intended. That conclusion is supported by the fact that you're not merely adding the elementals to your list of beast shapes, but that the transformation process is a completely separate mechanic that just happens to cost (two, which is also novel) wild-shape-uses.

At 10th level, you can expend two uses of Wild Shape at the same time to transform into an air elemental, an earth elemental, a fire elemental, or a water elemental.

On a third reading it maybe is unintentional after all (I wish I could just give you an answer. How did I come to this conclusion? When reading through the other Circles (namely Spores and Wildfire) one bit stood out to me:

rather than transforming into a beast form

This wording is actually unnecessary. As opposed to circle of the Moon it would be quite obvious without this bit that you are not transforming but spending the wild shape charges on something else. But they still put it there, in both cases, to make it absolutely clear that you're doing something that is specifically not the beast form transformation that "wild shape" usually entails.

However, this sentence (which is copied 1 for 1 from Spores to Wildfire) is missing in Circle of the Moon's feature description. [The fact that it also says "expend ... uses" like the other two does counter this conclusion a bit]

Tl:dr: It's a mess


There's no way to know the intent without asking the designers. As written, as you say, it seems pretty clear, you're not taking a beast form (and there is no language that says the elemental form is classified as a beast form for this purpose), so the attacks are not magical. That said:

  1. It generally doesn't matter for the fire elemental. (Almost?) All resistances that are overcome by magical weapons only apply to the physical damage types, slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning, so fire damage being magical or not doesn't matter (enemies that are resistant/immune to fire damage have the same protections regardless of whether it's magical fire or not).

  2. For the others, as a DM, I'd use rules from earlier editions that a creature's attacks count as magical if the creature themselves has resistance to non-magical attacks (e.g. the old 1E/2E rules allowed a creature that was immune to damage from less than +3 weapons to have its own attacks count as +3 weapons; it made it so werewolves could fight each other and actually injure one another without toting silver weaponry), and all of the elementals have resistance to non-magical physical attacks of this sort, so they'd qualify if you used that house rule.


The most sensible interpretation is that “beast form” also includes the elemental form, because many other core rules also only mention “beast form” or “beast shape”.

For example, the rules for Wild Shape include

You can stay in a beast shape for a number of hours equal to half your druid level (rounded down).

With a strict reading of “beast shape”, this would not apply to Elemental Wild Shape either and mean that the druid could be an elemental indefinitely.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent point about there not being an explicit duration on the elemental wild shape, but I think it may be more complicated than simply assuming that all the rules of the beast form apply. Consider, for example, the contradicting answers of Does Elemental Wild Shape work like regular Wild Shape? vs Does "Wild Shape" require the caster to have seen the elemental they are changing into?. I think this needs to be expanded to be a good answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 9 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The answers of both questions you linked seem to agree that the general wild shape rules apply to elemental wild shape as well, even if they refer to “beast shape” or “beast form”. I also agree that elemental wild shape replaces the rule “you can … assume the shape of a beast that you have seen before” with “you can … transform into an elemental”, but this is not a contradiction. \$\endgroup\$
    – ipsec
    Commented Apr 10 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only and accepted answer at the second link says, in part, "It seems fairly clear that these are two distinct abilities, even if they share many of the same rules. The first allows you to take the form of "a beast that you have seen before", while the second lets you take the form of four specific creatures. There is no mention of needing to see those creatures before you turn into them." Thus for that answer, we are not assuming that the rules of wild shape apply to elemental wild shape. No? @ipsec \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 10 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, because the original rule is overruled. The rest of the rules still applies, this is also what the answer is saying (“share many of the same rules”). For instance, if it would say “you can turn into an elemental form and you can stay in it for at most one hour”, this would overrule the original duration rule. It does not, so the original rule still applies. If elemental wild shape was a completely new ability with no connection to the the original wild shape, it would be dramatically underspecified. For instance, there would not even be a way to transform back. \$\endgroup\$
    – ipsec
    Commented Apr 10 at 19:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That is reasonable when you explain it like that - I would encourage you to do so in your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 10 at 20:02

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