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A 5th level Warlock casts Repelling Blast, firing 2 beams at the same target. The first one hits, pushing the target back 10 feet. Does the second attack roll come before or after the target is pushed away?

Two scenarios (both came up in play):

  1. The opponent is a ghost who is 5 feet away from a wall. The first blast pushes the ghost through the wall. If the second attack is before the repulsion, both beams hit. If it is after, the wall would block the second beam.
  2. The opponent is an ordinary creature that is 5 feet away from the caster. The first roll was taken with disadvantage. If the second attack is before the repulsion, then that attack is also with disadvantage. If it is after, then the caster is no longer within 5 feet of an enemy, so the second attack is not at disadvantage.

This question is inspired by this other question.

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After.

This was asked of Crawford specifically because this scenario kept coming up:

Repelling Blast

Multiple attacks on the same turn aren't simultaneous, unless a feature or spell says otherwise.

So if the first attack pushed the target out of line of sight, the remainder wouldn't be able to target it. Scenario one would only allow a single attack on the ghost.

Scenario two would have disadvantage on the first shot, and regular attacks on the follow ups.

This is actually in keeping with melee combat rules as well. Consider that if you choose to shove a target 5 feet away, you won't be able to hit it with a follow up attack unless you have a reach weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "unless you have a reach weapon." Or move to close the gap \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 18 '17 at 23:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ That applies for EB too though, the point is mechanically it's the same. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Jan 18 '17 at 23:16

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