Counterspell: Everything to Know About This D&D Spell
Are you looking for a 3rd-level spell that can negate any enemy spell? A spell that every caster should have in their toolbox? Let me introduce you to Counterspell.
How Does It Work?
Counterspell is a spell that can be learned by a sorcerer, warlock, and wizard, takes a single reaction to cast, and requires only somatic components. When cast, counterspell attempts to interrupt any spell being cast by a creature within a 60 ft range that you can see. If the spell being cast is 3rd level or lower, it automatically fails, whereas if it is above 4th level, you can attempt an ability check to see if counterspell is effective.
At higher levels, counterspell can cancel out any spell cast at the same level or lower. For instance, if you cast counterspell at 5th level, it would automatically interrupt any spell of 5th level or lower.
What’s So Great About It?
This spell lets you negate any spell being cast as a reaction. This is incredibly powerful in combat, as it enables you to shut down enemy spell-casters. Because it scales with level, it is useful whether your character is level 5 or level 20.
Counterspell also offers an unrivaled opportunity to negate high-level spells as a spellcaster. If the spell cast is of a higher level, you can attempt an ability check (DC equal to 10 + spell level) using your spellcasting modifier which, on success, negates the spell. This means that a 5th level spellcaster could successfully counteract a 9th level spell, which is a power dynamic not offered by any other spell in the game.
What Can Neutralize the Spell?
Ironically, the one spell that can neutralize counterspell is counterspell.
When you cast counterspell against an enemy mage, that mage can counterspell your counterspell, allowing the original spell to succeed. This can, of course, lead to chains of counterspelling, with mages on both sides counterspelling the spell until everyone runs out of reactions.
Counterspell is primarily used as a combat spell, but could also be used in non-combat situations. For instance, counterspell could be used to prevent enemies from gaining buffs, such as Heroes’ Feast, before battle. Because the original spell is cast and the caster’s spell slot is still consumed, this means that any consumed components are wasted. In the case of Heroes’ Feast, that is a 1,000 gp gem encrusted bowl.
Counterspell can be used against non-offensive spells in battle as well. For instance, you could counterspell Revivify, preventing an enemy combatant from being brought back to life while also forcing the caster to waste a 300 gp diamond, which is consumed on casting.
Other interesting uses of counterspell can be in social situations. Because counterspell requires only somatic components, you could easily counterspell someone without being noticed, by concealing your hands under a robe or beneath a table. Used this way, you could trick a card dealer who was using magic to cheat, and in doing so win a large sum of money. Similarly, you could counterspell a Zone of Truth, allowing you to potentially lie without the caster realizing it (depending on DM discretion).
Counterspell also has some powerful synergies with sorcerer metamagic which should be mentioned. One example of sorcerous metamagic is known as Distant Spell, which allows the caster to double the range of a spell cast as long as the spell’s range is 5 ft or greater. This is especially powerful with counterspell because you can sit outside of the range of an enemy’s potential counterspell ability and counterspell their spells. Because they are unable to counterspell you when you are over 60 feet away, you can successfully counterspell their spells without fear of retribution.
Overall, Counterspell is a powerful spell that can counteract any spell being cast by an enemy. Plus, as a 3rd level spell, it is something that a novice spell-caster can learn and use to quickly turn the tide of battle in favor of your party throughout your entire campaign.
How have you used Counterspell to defeat your enemies and ensure victory for your party? Tell us in the comments below!