Evasion 5e

Published on January 27, 2023

Nobody likes taking half damage on a successful saving throw. Enter: Evasion.

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You can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

What is Evasion in 5e?

There are plenty of ways to avoid damage in DnD 5e. You could suit up in the heaviest armor you can find, learn magic to protect yourself in combat, or become so nimble that enemies have trouble hitting you. Evasion is an ability reserved for creatures in that last category and can come in handy when you’ve got an explosive attack headed your way.

How does Evasion work in 5e?

Nobody likes taking damage, especially when you already succeeded in your saving throw. Luckily for creatures with Evasion, they take half damage on area of effect attacks (AoE for short), even if they fail their Dexterity saving throw. If they succeed in their DEX save, they take no damage, instead of half.

But, before you can use Evasion to negate damage from an attack, you have to meet certain criteria:

  • The attack can’t target specific creatures, it has to target an area (like a dragon’s breath weapon or the fireball spell)
  • The effect must require a Dexterity saving throw

One of the best things about Evasion is it doesn’t require a reaction, like the shield spell or the rogue’s Uncanny Dodge. It’s a passive ability that can be applied whenever the above criteria are met.

Evasion in Player Characters

Being able to negate damage on big AoE attacks can go a long way to help with the survivability of your character. Unfortunately, Evasion is a relatively uncommon trait for player characters, only being sported by two classes as a midlevel ability.


Rogues get access to Evasion at 7th level, which makes for an awesome damage-soaking addition when combined with Uncanny Dodge. What’s better is rogues usually stack into DEX and have proficiency in DEX saving throws, which makes it all the more likely that you’ll succeed in your saving throw and take no damage.


Monks are notorious for struggling in combat due to low AC and HP. Evasion helps them avoid damage from big AoE attacks, especially because they’re usually DEX focused and have proficiency in DEX saves.

Is Multiclassing for Evasion Worth It?

Most tanks would love to be able to avoid damage from DEX-based AoE attacks. But, is a 7-level investment into the monk or rogue class worth it? Rogues are usually a good investment for a dip to get Sneak Attack, Expertise, etc. but 7 levels can impede with your primary class’ main ability.

That said, if you’re starting the campaign at relatively high levels and your DM likes to throw dragons at you, it can be a great investment for any build that likes to stack into DEX. Specifically, Swords/Valor bards, DEX fighters, and DEX rangers.

Do Conditions Like Paralyzed Effect Evasion?

According to Jeremy Crawford, effects that reduce your movement don’t mechanically prevent creatures with the ability from using Evasion. That said, being paralyzed means they’ll automatically fail their DEX saving throw, but will still only take half damage.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Mithral best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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