There are several types of spells that use the word "missile", most of then made of Force.

Can a monk dodge or deflect such missiles?

I could understand that it could be difficult to grab magical missiles and send them back to the sender (although it could be fun, something that a wizard probably does not generally expect...), but it seems to me that the idea of dodging such missiles seems plausible.


2 Answers 2


It depends on the spell.

Starting at 3rd level, you can use your reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack.

So if someone uses a spell that involves hitting you with a ranged weapon attack, you'll be able to deflect it. For example, the Ranger spell Lightning Arrow.

On the other hand, spells involving ranged spell attacks are far more common, and you won't be able to deflect these. Ditto for spells that require you to make a saving throw, and for spells like Magic Missile that just hit you, no attack roll or saving throw required.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ok but....come on.... rule of cool? If only once.... I want to be that badass who throws a Magic Missile back at the big bad evil wizard with my HANDS. But yea.....RAW on this one is a big no :( \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 5:45
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @Airatome The question isn't asking if Rule of Cool says you can do it. (Presumably people can discover their own Rule of Cool preferred answers without needing to ask, anyway.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 6:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ 3e had an epic feat that let you deflect any ranged attack that requires an attack roll, including spells (but not area effects or other things that don't use attack rolls, so it wouldn't actually work against magic missile). But you had to have DEX 21+ and WIS 19+ and be over Level 20 to take it, plus have a couple of other feats. All of this is out of scope for 5e, but perhaps it could be used as a jumping-off point for an adaptation of some kind? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheSpooniest, I guess that would be possible with a Boon in 5e. The boons defined in the DM include similar feats. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Definitely a "You can certainly try!" moment and the allowance of the Rule of Cool like Airatome said :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Inhandable
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 21:18

RAW, not unless it requires a weapon attack.

Which very few spells do.

It would be a fun and generally fairly balanced house rule though.

Monks are one of the weakest classes in D&D 5e, optimizationally speaking. Spellcasters using spells that shoot spell attacks at players is not super common at most tables. Ergo, a monk being able to deflect a scorching ray is unlikely to be super impactful to the outcome of most combats, and might go dozens of combats without even coming up, but when it did come up it would be awesome.

Things that add to the game and aren't a balance issue are great to implement and play with, especially those that help the weaker classes come up to par in a non-obvious-handout sort of way.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that you have to remember that the evil monk will then be able to avoid your wizard scorching ray (I specifically mentioned the magic missiles spell, though). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 19:28

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