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The Evocation Wizard's 14th level ability Overchannel says (in part):

When you cast a wizard spell of 5th level or lower that deals damage, you can deal maximum damage with that spell.

Bigby's Hand is a 5th level Evocation that lasts up to 1 minute with concentration. During this duration, the caster can cause one of several effects on each of her turns. Some of them cause damage, and some of them do not. The two that can cause damage are:

Clenched Fist. The hand strikes one creature or object within 5 feet of it. Make a melee spell attack for the hand using your game statistics. On a hit, the target takes 4d8 force damage.

Grasping Hand. The hand attempts to grapple a huge or smaller creature within 5 feet of it. [...] While the hand is grappling the target, you can use a bonus action to ahve the hand crush it. When you do so, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 2d6 + your spellcasting ability.

If the caster overchannels this spell, do these effects both do maximum damage on any turn on which the caster chooses one of them?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is that "When you deal cast a wizard spell" thing an actual error in the books or a mistake in writing it here? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 8 '15 at 3:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ ok. If it was in the books, you could include "(sic)" after the phrase to indicate that was their error not yours, but all is well here. :D \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 8 '15 at 4:00
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Yes, that is what the text is saying. Bigby's hand is a spell and can deal damage. If it does deal damage, and you've overchanneled, it deals maximum damage. The number of separate rolls involved and the time between casting and damage and all the other things like that are completely irrelevant to the rules in both descriptions.

The only reason this seems unclear, as far as I can tell, is because overchanneling seems more better for this spell than others, so people are hesitant to let it apply. In actuality, overchannel nearly always simply doubles the expected random damage of a spell; it's just that this spell is capable of a lot of total damage so the absolute expected gain is larger.

Other benefits of overchanneling, like a deviation of 0, apply equally to this and other spells.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. "You cast a spell that does damage". The spell you cast summons Bigby's hand, but that does no damage. Later, there are some actions that you can do with the hand, but those aren't you casting additional spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Dec 22 '16 at 22:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MooingDuck Nowhere is it implied that the casting of the spell and the damage need to be contemporary. You must cast a spell, and then the spell must do damage. Those actions you take later cause a spell you cast to do damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jan 28 '17 at 23:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reading over more rules, I see wizard has "Durable Summon" which affects "any creature that you summon or create with a conjuration spell". Bigby's hand is an evocation spell, which leads me to believe it doesn't count as a summon, which is the logic I was using in my thought process prior. Therefore, I've changed my mind, I now think Bigby's is affected by Overchanneled. \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Jan 29 '17 at 19:40

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