Does Thunderwave work against enemy spells?

A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-foot cube originating from you ... On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you. {snip} In addition, unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10 feet away from you by the spell’s effect ... (spell description, Basic Rules, p. 103)

For example, if I readied a reaction to cast thunderwave if a magical attack like fire bolt or fire ball headed towards me, would thunderwave send it back to sender since the ball/bolt isn't a secured object?


1 Answer 1



Spells like fire bolt and fireball do not produce objects. A spell or feature tells you if it produces an object, such as animate object or the conjuration wizard's Minor Conjuration.

In addition, the duration of all the spells in question is instantaneous, so you can cast thunderwave either before or after the incoming spell effect instantaneously reaches you, not while it is traveling, since the incoming spell does not spend any time traveling. Basically, you cannot interrupt a spell with an instantaneous duration unless a spell or feature says you can. Even counterspell and shield only allow you to prevent a spell from being cast or block it after it is cast. Neither is capable of actually deflecting a spell during transit because there is no transit duration.

Finally, if thunderwave were intended to deflect other spells in addition to doing damage, it would say so, and it would definitely not be a 1st-level spell in contrast to others mentioned above. This would be expected because there are features that do deflect incoming effects in some fashion and they explicitly state how they operate, such as the CR 3 spectator's Spell Reflection feature or the 3rd-level monk's Deflect Missiles feature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 6, 2017 at 23:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .