Magic Missile in DND (Stats, Mechanics, & Ultimate Guide)

Magic Missile is one of the most iconic spells in Dungeons and Dragons (DND).

Let’s dive deep into this spell’s core stats, its definition, how it operates, and which classes can harness its power.

Here is Magic Missile in DND.

Magic Missile Stats

Here are the Magic Missile stats:

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ComponentsV, S
ClassesSorcerer, Wizard
School of MagicEvocation
Range120 feet
TargetsUp to three creatures
Damage TypeForce (1d4 +1 for each of three darts)
Magic Missile in DND Stats – Source: DND Player’s Handbook (Not an affiliate link)

What Is Magic Missile?

Digital Image of a Wizard casting a spell - DND Magic Missile
I made this image – Magic Missile in DND

Magic Missile is a staple spell in the repertoire of many arcane spellcasters, a glowing dart of magical force that unerringly strikes its target.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this spell is its guarantee to hit the target.

Essentially, the spell bypasses the need for an attack roll.

According to the official DND source, the Player’s Handbook:

“Each dart hits a creature of your choice that you can see within range. A dart deals 1d4+1 force damage to its target. The darts all strike simultaneously, and you can direct them to hit one creature or several.”

The predictability and reliability of Magic Missile have made it a favorite among spellcasters.

How Does Magic Missile Work?

The beauty of Magic Missile lies in its simplicity and guaranteed damage.

When the spell is cast, a series of glowing darts of magical energy fly forth from the caster’s hand.

The spell creates three darts by default. Each of these darts can be directed to hit one target or multiple.

The spellcaster simply chooses the targets they can see, and the darts do the rest.

There’s no attack roll required.

The darts always hit unless the target has a specific means of countering or absorbing magical force.

Such as the Shield spell.

Additionally, as the caster grows in power and chooses to expend higher-level spell slots, they can generate more darts, increasing the potential damage output.

Who Can Use Magic Missile in DND?

Not every adventurer can call upon the forces of magic with equal prowess.

However, Magic Missile is available to a select few classes that have a penchant for the arcane.

Sorcerers, with their innate magical capabilities, have Magic Missile as part of their spell list, tapping into their raw magical essence to unleash these force darts.

Wizards, the scholarly magicians who study tomes and grimoires, can also learn and cast Magic Missile.

While these two classes are the primary users of this spell, other classes might gain access to it through subclass features, feats, or magical items.

It’s a testament to the spell’s popularity and versatility that various adventurers seek its power.

Is Magic Missile Really That Good?

The short answer is yes, for several reasons.

First, the reliability of Magic Missile is unmatched among first-level spells.

Its guaranteed hit means that in crucial moments where a hit is needed, Magic Missile delivers.

Second, the damage type—force—is one of the least commonly resisted types in the game.

This means that the spell can be effective against a wide range of foes, including some creatures that resist other forms of damage.

Lastly, its flexibility in targeting allows spellcasters to adapt to the situation.

That’s true whether it’s focusing all darts on a single threat or distributing damage among multiple adversaries.

Here is a good video about how Magic Missile is one of the best blast spells:

YouTube Video by Pack Tactics – Magic Missile in DND

Is Magic Missile Worth Upcasting?

The option to upcast Magic Missile in DND provides an interesting choice for spellcasters.

For each slot level above the first, Magic Missile creates an additional dart. So, is it worth using a higher-level spell slot on this spell?

It’s essential to weigh this against other spells available at higher levels.

Often, spells of 2nd level or higher have more potent effects or deal more damage.

That said, in situations where a caster needs to ensure a hit or bypass resistances, upcasting Magic Missile can be a tactical choice.

Can Magic Missile Never Miss?

At face value, Magic Missile appears to be infallible, automatically striking its intended target.

However, there are exceptions.

The Shield spell, when cast as a reaction, explicitly states that it causes Magic Missile to miss its caster.

Additionally, certain magic items or monster abilities might provide immunity or resistance to force damage.

It’s essential for both players and DMs to be aware of these nuances to ensure the game’s balance.

What Blocks Magic Missile?

Magic Missile is renowned for its accuracy, but like all spells, it has certain limitations.

It can even be countered under specific circumstances.

Knowing what can block or reduce the impact of this spell is crucial for both players and Dungeon Masters to ensure balanced gameplay and tactical decision-making.

Can Magic Missile Go Through Water?

Magic Missile is not specifically hampered by mediums like water.

In a typical D&D game, the force darts produced by the spell would have no trouble traveling through water and hitting their intended target.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that the caster still has a clear line of sight to their target.

The spell specifies that it targets creatures you can see.

Deep or murky waters might obscure vision.

While the spell itself isn’t impeded by water, the caster’s ability to see and target a creature might be.

Can Magic Missile Go Through Walls?

By the standard rules of Dungeons & Dragons, Magic Missile cannot penetrate solid walls.

The spell targets creatures that the caster can see within range.

A wall, especially if it’s opaque, would block the caster’s line of sight to a potential target.

If the caster cannot see the target, they cannot direct a dart from Magic Missile to hit it.

However, if there’s a crack, a window, or any other opening that allows the caster to have a clear line of sight to their target, the spell can be cast and directed appropriately.

Can Magic Missile Go Through Glass?

If a creature is visible behind a pane of glass, Magic Missile can be directed to hit it.

However, it’s up to individual Dungeon Masters to decide how the spell interacts with the glass.

Some might rule that the force darts shatter the glass on impact before hitting the target, while others might allow the darts to pass seamlessly through.

It’s always a good idea to clarify these mechanics with your DM.

Can You Uncanny Dodge a Magic Missile?

Uncanny Dodge is a feature used by Rogues, which allows them to halve the damage of an attack that hits them if they can see the attacker.

The general consensus is that Uncanny Dodge can be used against Magic Missile.

This is backed by official clarifications.

Since the rogue can see the caster (the “attacker”) launching the spell, it works.

What Makes You Immune to Magic Missile?

Certain abilities and spells grant immunity or resistance to Magic Missile in DND.

The most prominent of these is the Shield spell.

When cast as a reaction, it not only provides a +5 bonus to the caster’s AC but also specifically states that it causes Magic Missile to fail against the caster.

Beyond the Shield spell, creatures with immunity to force damage, though rare, would also be immune to Magic Missile’s effects.

Additionally, certain magical items or specific monster abilities might grant protection or immunity.

Does Mirror Image Stop Magic Missile in DND?

Mirror Image is a spell that creates illusory duplicates of the caster.

Basically, the spell makes it difficult for attackers to target the actual spellcaster.

Because Magic Missile hits its target directly without needing an attack roll, it circumvents the protections offered by Mirror Image.

This means that the darts from Magic Missile would target the caster directly

The duplicates from Mirror Image would remain unaffected.

Can a Monk Deflect Magic Missile?

Monks possess a unique ability called Deflect Missiles.

The ability allows them to reduce the damage of ranged weapon attacks potentially to zero.

Sure, the name might suggest it could be used against something like Magic Missile.

However, the feature specifically refers to “ranged weapon attacks.”

Since Magic Missile in DND is a spell and not a ranged weapon attack, a monk’s Deflect Missiles ability would not apply.

The darts of force would hit the monk as they would any other target, dealing their standard damage.

What Is the Maximum Possible Damage of Magic Missile?

Magic Missile’s damage potential hinges on several factors:

  1. Spell Level: The base spell, when cast using a 1st-level spell slot, creates three darts, each dealing 1d4+1 force damage. For each spell slot level above 1st, the spell creates one additional dart. Therefore, the highest standard spell slot available, 9th-level, would generate 11 darts.
  2. Damage Calculation: Each dart deals 1d4+1 force damage. The maximum damage for a single dart is 5 (rolling a 4 on a d4 and then adding 1).

Given the maximum number of darts from a 9th-level spell slot (11 darts), the maximum possible damage without any other modifiers is:

11 darts × 5 damage per dart = 55 force damage.

Now, if you’re incorporating specific class features, magic items, or other non-standard effects that might modify this damage, the number could be different.

Otherwise, a Magic Missile cast at 9th level has a maximum damage potential of 55 force damage.

Then again, I’ve seen some impressive builds online that claim to reach up to 428 damage points.

Magic Missile vs Other DND Spells: How Does It Compare?

Magic Missile is one of the most iconic spells in DND, known for its guaranteed damage and versatility.

But how does it stack up against other spells in the game?

Let’s dive in and compare.

Magic Missile vs. Firebolt

Firebolt is a cantrip, which means it doesn’t expend a spell slot.

At higher character levels, it can deal significant damage (ranging from 1d10 to 4d10).

However, Firebolt requires an attack roll, which means there’s a chance it might miss.

On the other hand, Magic Missile, though it uses a spell slot, always hits its target.

  • Advantage Magic Missile: Guaranteed damage, can target multiple creatures.
  • Advantage Firebolt: No spell slot required, potential for high damage at higher levels.

Magic Missile vs. Eldritch Blast

Eldritch Blast is another cantrip, primarily used by Warlocks, known for its damage output and scalability.

Like Firebolt, it requires an attack roll.

Warlocks can modify Eldritch Blast using their invocations, giving it effects like pushing a target or pulling them closer.

  • Advantage Magic Missile: No need for an attack roll, and can be upcast for more darts.
  • Advantage Eldritch Blast: Customizable with invocations, no spell slot required, and can deal more damage at higher levels.

Magic Missile vs. Guiding Bolt

Guiding Bolt is a 1st-level cleric spell that not only deals radiant damage (4d6) but also grants advantage on the next attack roll made against the target.

It requires an attack roll.

  • Advantage Magic Missile: Consistent force damage, no attack roll needed, and can be split among targets.
  • Advantage Guiding Bolt: Potential for higher damage, provides combat advantage, and deals radiant damage which some creatures are vulnerable to.

How Can Players Use Magic Missile (10 Creative Ways)

  1. Distracting Dart: Target an object to create a loud noise or distraction, diverting an enemy’s attention.
  2. Signaling: Use the darts as a signal flare in a dark dungeon or open field.
  3. Interrogation: Threaten to use the spell on an uncooperative NPC, demonstrating its power by destroying a nearby object.
  4. Feats of Skill: Boast in a tavern by targeting multiple distant objects, showcasing precision.
  5. Disarming: Target an enemy’s weapon or held item, causing them to lose their grip from the sudden force.
  6. Environmental Interaction: Strike a hanging stalactite or chandelier, causing it to fall on enemies.
  7. Protection: Cast defensively to deter approaching enemies or to protect an ally.
  8. Double Bluff: Fake the casting to draw out an enemy’s Shield spell, then follow up with a different attack.
  9. Last Resort: When all other spells or options fail, Magic Missile provides guaranteed damage.
  10. Lure & Ambush: Target a distant creature to draw it closer, setting up an ambush.

20 DM Ideas for Magic Missile in DND

  1. Homing Beacon: A modified Magic Missile that acts as a tracking beacon on a hit target.
  2. Magic Missile Trap: An enchanted object that releases a barrage of darts when disturbed.
  3. Defensive Amulet: Provides a one-time Shield spell effect against Magic Missile.
  4. Arcane Duel: A wizard’s contest where participants dodge or deflect Magic Missiles.
  5. Dart Collector: A creature or NPC that feeds on Magic Missile energy.
  6. Guided Darts: A version of the spell that can be redirected after casting.
  7. Force Field: A room or area that amplifies force magic, making Magic Missile exceptionally potent.
  8. Dart Replication: A creature that duplicates every Magic Missile dart that hits it.
  9. Mysterious Source: A city or location where Magic Missile doesn’t function for unknown reasons.
  10. Spell Fusion: Combining Magic Missile with another spell for unique effects.
  11. Force Armor: Armor that absorbs Magic Missile darts, storing them for later release.
  12. Runic Challenge: A puzzle that requires the precise use of Magic Missile to solve.
  13. Dart Reflection: Mirrors or surfaces that reflect Magic Missile darts.
  14. Enchanted Forest: Trees that release a barrage of darts when disturbed.
  15. Force Resistant Flora: Plants that absorb or nullify the effects of Magic Missile.
  16. Arcane Battery: An item that can store Magic Missile darts for later use.
  17. Force Elemental: A creature made entirely of force energy, immune to Magic Missile.
  18. Dart Counter: An NPC or creature that can instantly count and recite the number of darts cast in its presence.
  19. Arcane Arena: A combat ring where participants can only use Magic Missile.
  20. Force Nexus: A point in the world where all Magic Missile darts are irresistibly drawn.

Magic Missile Description (Narrative Example for DMs)

As a DM, you can describe Magic Missile in DND like this:

In the dim cavern, lit only by the flickering glow of a single torch, the party faced off against a formidable foe. With each strike and parry, the odds seemed increasingly stacked against them.

But from the back, the party’s wizard, Elara, began to chant softly. Her hands moved rhythmically, fingers dancing in the air, and her voice rose in crescendo.

Suddenly, from the tip of her extended fingers, radiant darts of pure energy burst forth. They glowed a pale blue, their luminescence cutting through the darkness, trailing wisps of arcane power. The darts moved with a purpose, weaving through the air with unerring accuracy, bypassing friend and foe alike until they found their mark.

The enemy, confident just moments before, had only a split second to register surprise before the darts struck. Each one hit with a thud of force, leaving behind no mark but clearly delivering their arcane sting.

The creature staggered, the combined force of the missiles visibly shaking it.

Around the cavern, members of the party watched in awe, reminded once again of the raw and precise power of the Magic Missile. In that moment, the tide of the battle seemed to turn, hope rekindling in the hearts of the adventurers.

Final Thoughts: Magic Missile in DND

Never underestimate the singular power of spell like Magic Missile.

If you’re interested in learning about other DND spells, check out some of the other articles below.

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