Ways to prevent Counterspell from being cast?

What ways can a character (PC or Monster) prevent an enemy from casting counterspell?

What I can think of so far:

  • Surprise the enemy and win initiative
  • Cause the enemy to be incapacitated (or stunned/paralyzed/unconscious)
  • Provoke the enemy into using a reaction earlier in the round (readied action, opportunity attack, previous spell)
  • Avoid using perceivable spell components
    • Sorcerer subtle spell metamagic
    • Level 20 Druid Archdruid feature
    • Casting a spell with only material components (eg. Minor Illusion)
  • Prevent somatic components
    • The enemy is holding objects in both hands
  • Block line of sight (often interferes with targeting)
    • Spells such as Fog Cloud, Darkness, etc.
    • Physical barriers such as walls or large creatures

Are there any other options available that I am missing?

Should the DM describe NPC spellcasting so that players can use Counterspell?

Going into battle, standing in front of a medusa and 2 nagas. I have line of sight on all 3. The DM says to make wisdom saving throw, without describing why.

After failing the saving throw, I’m mind controlled by a naga. When I question why, the DM tells me the naga cast a spell (but wouldn’t tell me what one, I assume dominate person, or charm person). To which, I respond, “okay I would use counterspell when I see the naga casting a spell in front of me though.”

The DM claimed I should have used counterspell earlier.

Considering that I could see the creature, am I correct in assuming there should have been a description of “you see the naga wave it’s arms” or “you see the naga begin to chant” before being asked to make a wisdom saving throw? Something to indicate this was a spell and not a effect of the room or something I couldn’t avoid?

P.S. He knows I have counterspell in a ring of spell storing ready.

Can I Hold a Dispel Magic spell to counter Counterspell? [duplicate]

Recently, when fighting wizards and spell casters, I’ve taken to a little trick of using my Action to Hold Action. With this Held Action I have readied a Dispel Magic with a trigger of a spell being cast. Basically a poor man’s counter spell.

As far as I can see, that’s within the remit of holding an action. Great!

It got me thinking though, that if a wizard casts Counterspell as their reaction, but I have a Dispel Magic ready on a trigger of “if I see a Counterspell” does one trump the other?

Chronomancer Wizard’s Rewind vs Counterspell

The Chronomancer archetype gains the ability to reclaim ineffective spells, Rewind.

As an immediate action after losing a spell due to a failed concentration check or after casting a spell that had no effect (such as due to successful saving throws, a failed caster level check to overcome spell resistance, or other immunities), the chronomancer can expend a number of points from his temporal pool equal to half the spell’s level (minimum 1) to immediately prepare the spell again, as if it had not been cast. Any material components expended in the original casting remain expended, as are actions used to cast the original spell.

Usually, this is pretty easy to judge… Failed your check vs. SR? Works. Enemy Saved on a negates spell? Works. Hit your ally who it did affect? Doesn’t work.

However, is it valid to use this ability if an enemy counterspells your attempted spell?

Does Counterspell stop the Eldritch Knight’s War Magic feature?

War Magic PHB pg. 75 states:

When you use your action to cast a cantrip, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.

Counterspell states:

You attempt to interrupt a creature in the process of casting a spell. If the creature is casting a spell of 3rd level or lower, its spell fails and has no effect. If it is casting a spell of 4th level or higher, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level. On a success, the creature’s spell fails and has no effect.

For example, say I have an EK and I am wanting to cast Booming Blade. If someone casts counterspell on my Booming Blade, do I get the bonus action attack?

Counterspell a Counterspell. Is then the original spell being able to cast?

Assume target A casts fireball.

Assume target B casts counterspell on A’s fireball using his reaction.

Now target A can use his reaction and also cast counterspell on target B’s counterspell.

Does this mean that A can finally cast fireball and B can do nothing about it?

Or does this mean that B can cast another counterspell to counter A’s counterspell attempt?

This gets out of hand so I described it as simple as I could. I hope I get an answer because I was on a dispute with one of my PCs for this mechanic.

What are the balance implications of using passive Arcana to identify spells for counterspell?

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (p. 85) gives an optional rule if a character wants to identify a spell:

Sometimes a character wants to identify a spell that someone else is casting or that was already cast. To do so, a character can use their reaction to identify a spell as it’s being cast, or they can use an action on their turn to identify a spell by its effect after it is cast.

If the character perceived the casting, the spell’s effect, or both, the character can make an Intelligence (Arcana) check with the reaction or action. The DC equals 15 + the spell’s level. If the spell is cast as a class spell and the character is a member of that class, the check is made with advantage. For example, if the spellcaster casts a spell as a cleric, another cleric has advantage on the check to identify the spell. Some spells aren’t associated with any class when they’re cast, such as when a monster uses its Innate Spellcasting trait.

I’m thinking of completely replacing the check with comparing the passive Arcana score and the DC (15 + spell level). This would also not require a reaction to perform.

However, I’m not sure whether this will be balanced or not. The goal is to allow identifying spell before casting counterspell. The side goal is to reduce dice rolling.

One of my main concern is early level this would be useless, as even with proficiency in Arcana, you would only get at most +5 (+3 from INT and +2 from proficiency). Except if you have expertise, you will never be able to identify even 1st level spell. Without expertise, you will only be able to identify up to 5th level (10 +5 INT and +5 proficiency against DC 20 for 5th level spell).

Is this modification (completely replacing identification using passive score instead of actively rolling Arcana) underpowered? Can it be remedied by changing the base DC to 10 instead of 15? What are some other concern I might have missed?

This rule will also apply on other situations other than for counterspell.

Is there a way to counterspell a level 20 druid?

At level 20, Druids get access to the following feature:


At 20th level, you can use your Wild Shape an unlimited number of times.

Additionally, you can ignore the verbal and somatic components of your druid spells, as well as any material components that lack a cost and aren’t consumed by a spell. You gain this benefit in both your normal shape and your beast shape from Wild Shape

The emphasis is on the fact that you can ignore verbal, somatic and non-consumed material components, which makes these spells imperceptible, as per Xanathar:

If the need for a spell’s components has been removed by a special ability, such as the sorcerer’s Subtle Spell feature or the Innate Spellcasting trait possessed by many creatures, the casting of the spell is imperceptible.

Counterspell requires you to be able to see a creature casting:

Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you see a creature within 60 feet of you casting a spell.

As a result, it seems to me that it is impossible to ever counterspell a level 20 druid unless they use a material component that is consumed.

Am I missing something? Is the level 20 Druid feature essentially ‘become immune to counterspell’ as a hidden bonus? Or is there still a way to counterspell them?

Can you twin Counterspell in response to a Counterspell counter chain?


Four spellcasters: 2v2 (Notation 1A 1B vs 2A 2B)

  • 1A tries to cast a spell
  • 2A uses his reaction to cast Counterspell to counter that spell
  • 1B uses his reaction to cast Counterspell to counter 2A’s Counterspell

Can 2B twin Counterspell to counter both 1A’s spell and 1B’s Counterspell? I can’t think of a use for doing this, other than if 1B got some advantage from successfully countering a spell.