Melee Spell Attack 5E Guide | Calculations and Applications

melee spell attack 5e

Whether you’re going to touch someone with a handful of electricity or fire, you may need to make a Melee Spell Attack. This concept, new to Dungeons & Dragons 5E, has some pretty important spells that use it. It is not the most popular type of spell attack at all. But there are still some standout cantrips like Green Flame Blade or spells like Spiritual Weapon that you’ll want to know your Melee Spell Attack roll. So, in our Melee Spell Attack 5E guide, you’ll learn how to calculate your bonus to touching someone with terrifying magic in melee.

Melee Spell Attack 5E

A Melee Spell Attack is calculated in the exact same way as a standard Spell Attack Roll:

Melee Spell Attack Formula
D20 + Proficiency Bonus + Casting Modifier + Magical Item Bonus

The only difference between Melee Spell Attack and Normal Spell Attacks is that a Melee Spell Attack is originating from right next to the target. This means that Spiritual Weapon is considered a Melee Spell Attack, despite the fact that you’re not next to the target; the conjured weapon is what’s making the attack roll, after all! The same thing goes with spells like Thorn Whip.

Melee Spell Attacks do not benefit from any magical bonuses you have to any weapon or unarmed strike that you’re wielding. They benefit from any magical bonuses to other Spell Attack rolls that you may have. These include from Robes of the Archmagi or from enchanted Wands.

Situational Differences

There are, however, a few cases where a Melee Spell Attack differs from a Normal Spell Attack. For instance, let’s say you have more than 5 ft of reach. You can touch someone within your range with a Melee Spell Attack, allowing you to reach out your full 10 ft or more to deliver the touch. So, if you have a way to extend your arms

You also don’t suffer from Disadvantage for performing melee spell attacks next to an enemy, unlike a ranged spell attack. So, if you’re in the thick of a fight with an enemy, you might want to reach out and touch your opponent, rather than try and throw magic. Or, you can use spells like Thorn Whip to make a “melee attack” at a long range, and ignore the guy next to you. Do note that this does not affect spells that are DC-based; you can throw a fireball right next to an angry Bandit without any issues.

There are also a few situations where the touch is optional. For example, Cure Wounds has a range of Touch, but does not require you to make a Melee Spell Attack. It is still one, so if you get a reach of 10 feet with your arms through any means, you can deliver a Cure Wounds from any point you can touch. That can be handy for emergencies!

We hope this helped you understand Melee Spell attacks!

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