Dungeons & Dragons Online

If I Counterspell your Healing Word there’s nothing you can do about it

Content of the article: "If I Counterspell your Healing Word there’s nothing you can do about it"

An interesting corner case in the spellcasting rules came up at my table the other night. We all know that it's legit to counterspell another spellcaster's counterspell, because the Sage Advice Compendium offers that as an example of a legitimate use of a reaction:

Can you cast a reaction spell on your turn? You sure can! Here’s a common way for it to happen: Cornelius the wizard is casting fireball on his turn, and his foe casts counterspell on him. Cornelius also has counterspell prepared, so he uses his reaction to cast it and break his foe’s counterspell before it can stop fireball.

But what if my spell has a casting time of 1 bonus action, such as healing word or spiritual weapon? Let's review the infamous and commonly misinterpreted rule from PHB p. 202 that governs casting spells as a bonus action.

A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn. You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

Now, I know rules pedants on reddit like to frequently point out that this has the counter-intuitive consequence that if you cast a bonus action cantrip, you're still limited to a cantrip for your action as well, so you can't cast shillelagh and faerie fire on the same turn.

Another consequence I hadn't previously considered is this: If I cast a spell using a bonus action and you counterspell it, I cannot counterspell your counterspell.

I think this is likely not RAI, particularly since the clarification in the Sage Advice Compendium uses more specific language (my emphasis):

If you cast a spell, such as healing word, with a bonus action, you can cast another spell with your action, but that other spell must be a cantrip.

And there is no harm in allowing a reaction spell in the same turn as a bonus action spell. But it's a silly case that's pointlessly forbidden RAW.

Read:  Mage Storytime Episode 2

I know I'm not the first person to ever think of this (link to sageadvice.eu). Still thought it was interesting enough rules trivia to share.

Source: reddit.com

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