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This question is related to this other question and builds on that.

From some of the answer provided in the linked question, it would seem that the RAI for proccing sneak attack is that the enemy perceives multiple threats and it has to split the attention among them.

Silent Image's limitation is that it's not moving if not using the caster action, so the Arcane Trickster controlling it can't do both the illusion movement to be perceived as a threat AND the attack action, but it is reasonable if the illusion is moved by someone else.

But what about Mirror Images? Those move

Until the spell ends, the duplicates move with you and mimic your actions, shifting position so it's impossible to track which image is real.

just like you, so on your attack they also attack, and are perceived as a threat.

So my question is: can I enable sneak attack using my Arcane Trickster mirror images? I'd argue for a RAW no, but I'd like to hear other opinions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli Rather than open two fronts on that argument, you might want to just drop a note that you see a flaw in the reasoning, and that you've expanded on that in your answer to the question about it. The difference is that it keeps everything in one place and won't start a discussion here, where it would be unconstructive or inconclusive. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 12 '16 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds good. @Diego Martinoia - I've taken note of a flaw with the reasoning under your interpretation of Silent Image. I'd like to recommend removing it from this question as it seems out of place and doesn't actually contribute anything. Seven has provided a link to the question in which I address said flaw. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 12 '16 at 20:15
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No.

Sneak attack requires "another enemy". Mirror images aren't enemies different from you; they're in your space, and they "move with you", so they don't present additional threats.

In general, there's no strict definition of "enemy" provided in the PHB, but it's often used interchangeably with "hostile creature". So, as you continue to find ways to enable Sneak Attack for your Arcane Trickster, consider the Sneak Attack rule to be:

You don’t need advantage on the attack roll if another creature hostile to the target is within 5 feet of it, that creature isn’t incapacitated, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Mirror images aren't hostile creatures, so this won't work. RAI for allowing sneak attacks without advantage when an enemy is adjacent to the target is clearly that sneak attacks are facilitated by the rogue supplementing other party members in combat, so low-level illusions don't cut it. Note that you don't have to be in melee; you can stand back and snipe with missile weapons while your ally gets in close.

(As a general suggestion, I would work on using your Arcane Trickster's spells to buff yourself/teammates and make ranged sneak attacks rather than trying to make melee sneak attacks work without teammates to help you).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The mirror images don't just "move" with you, they mimic your actions, including your attacks. And they are not "low-level" illusions: it's impossible to distinguish them from you (without truesight), no matter how good your perception is, without actually breaking them with an attack. So arguably they are perceived as threat in the eyes of the target. But yeah, I'd agree RAW you can't. \$\endgroup\$ – Diego Martinoia Feb 12 '16 at 11:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ By "low-level" I literally meant "created by a low-level spell", which mirror image is. And yes, the images mimic your attacks — which, given the spell description, I take to mean that at the same time that you attack, the images appear to attack. But they don't present any threats separate from the attacks you are making. If mirror image was intended to make your attacks somehow deceptive, it would bestow some kind of bonus (like, for example, invisibility does); it doesn't, so we can infer that an attack from a mirror image'd character is no more threatening than normal. \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Feb 12 '16 at 12:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would add to this answer that the intended affect of the spell is to create exact duplicates of you, so the enemy doesn't know which OF YOU to attack. It's a defensive spell by way of redirection. \$\endgroup\$ – Escoce Feb 12 '16 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DiegoMartinoia think the core argument you want to focus on is the fact that the mirror image remains in your own space. I would argue that if the mirror image were in a different space, the RAI would allow for a sneak attack because the creature perceives two threats and as it attempts to keep track of both, your rogue training allows a sneak attack on his divided attention. As it is, this is not the case. Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Feb 12 '16 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I meant RAI for sneak attack's "adjacent enemy" rule, not for Mirror Image. I'll clarify. \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Feb 12 '16 at 20:00

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