How does wish work with spells that interact with material components?

For example, how does wish work with a spell like leomund's secret chest? Do an exquisite chest and small chest just appear with the wish? Or do you need them?

Wish says it doesn't need any expensive components to cast, but things are a bit unclear here.


3 Answers 3


Wish is specifically designed for you to be able to cast lower-level spells without the material components

The description of the Wish spell, on PHB 288 makes this clear:

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell including costly components.

All three spells you cite are 8th level or lower, so you're good to go.

As the components are not consumed by the spell, but rather used for their duration, some more specific explanation is useful.

Spell component specifics

For Leomund's Secret Chest and Magic Jar, this seems unproblematic, you get the exquisite chest and ornamental container - they are 'costly components'. For Clone you certainly get the diamond and the container, though there is the question of whether you get the 1 inch cube of the flesh of the person being cloned. According to RAW, you do ('any requirements'), but your DM might rule the beneficiary actually has to provide his or her flesh.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ If you think of this in the flavor of a "Wish" rather than a mechanical spell it makes a lot more sense. "I wish I had a magical chest!" "I wish I had a clone!" having to specifically prepare other components for this doesn't fit the theme that well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patrick
    Apr 16, 2015 at 11:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Patrick Maybe it doesn't fit the theme, but in previous editions that had more game balance determined by character wealth; "thematic" went out the window in exchange for having additional limitations imposed rather then 1/day (A Pathfinder Wizard might get 5-10 of these a day). I have had to house-rule, for instance, that gate and magic-circle can't be used to force genies to cast Wishes, without paying the 25,0000 (Pathfinder) fee for that, as cheesy as that sounds. So flavor has nothing to do with it--rather 5e changed enough (1/day, 33% chance), that a material cost is not necessary. \$\endgroup\$ May 4, 2017 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you could also read the "not needing costly components" as allowing it work with whatever you have on hand. Use Wish to cast Magic Jar, and your half-full waterskin will work fine as the container, for instance. Not that creating the standard version from nothing would be out of line for a Wish. \$\endgroup\$
    – Errorsatz
    Oct 17, 2018 at 20:02

Wish states:

You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly Components. The spell simply takes Effect.

It doesn't say it creates the costly components, it says you don't need them. So since it doesn't say you get exquisite items to keep, I would argue that you don't, per rules, as spells only do what they say they do.

What you get instead is up to the DM, and what kind of fluff the caster wishes (pun intended). For Leomund's Secret Chest it could be just low-value chest and token, which crumble when the spell ends. For Clone the vessel for the clone could be a shimmering force field cocoon. For Scry, the scrying surface could be an illusory pool of liquid held in your cupped hands. And so on.


Spells do what they say they do.

From the description of Leomund's secret chest, we have the following:

You hide a chest, and all its contents, on the Ethereal Plane. You must touch the chest and the miniature replica that serves as a material component for the spell.

Emphasis mine. While duplicating the spell through casting wish may remove the need for the material components required to cast the spell, this does not alter any clauses of the spell's description (its effect). Note that the in the latter sentence, the singular is used: "...the replica that serves..." as opposed to "...the chest and the miniature replica that serve...", meaning that only the replica must be used as the material component of the spell. Either way, if there is no replica used in the casting of the spell, you are unable to touch it. While this on its own is confusing in how to handle, there is another part of the description which is clearer:

While the chest remains on the Ethereal Plane, you can use an action and touch the replica to recall the chest.

Emphasis mine. This means that even if the spell doesn't fail on account of not being able to touch the replica (and chest), if no replica is used in the casting, then the chest hidden by the spell cannot be recalled.

We would still be able to send some chest into the Ethereal Plane, though, as the indefinite article, 'a', is used, instead of the definite 'the'. This may serve as a means for the caster (or another creature) to enter the Ethereal Plane, or to easily dispose of some equipment.

One would have to make similar judgements for other spells which make reference to their material components, but hopefully this answer serves to present good principles with which to approach the problem.

Considering another interpretation...

The wording of wish is just vague enough to allow another possibility: though it's easy to assume that the 'requirements' which are removed are for casting the spell, that's not what the description necessarily states.

You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect.

Emphasis mine. Under this interpretation, we have another set of outcomes. Considering again the spell Leomund's secret chest, then firstly, you no longer need to touch the chest and replica as stated in the first paragraph. This means that we unambiguously are able to cast the spell to send some chest into the Ethereal Plane without having a replica of it. However, we are still unable to recall it, as we are given the ability to recall it by "using an action and touching the replica"—which is not posed as a "requirement in the spell". Anything more liberal than this and we start to affect statments such as "Choose a creature within range."

  • \$\begingroup\$ To whoever downvoted: is there any feedback you could provide on why this answer warrants a downvote, or how it could be improved? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fie
    Jan 10, 2022 at 23:11

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