Counterspell is a spell you cast as a reaction to stop another spell:
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGE) introduced an optional rule for identifying a spell. It also costs a reaction:
This creates a tension between identifying a spell and deciding to counter it. You can only spend your reaction on one. The grand implication is that you don’t know what spell you’re trying to counter!
Without that information, counterspell becomes a lot less useful.
Like our last discussion about Cutting Words, this doesn’t really mesh with the way we play the game. Typically, a DM or player announces that a character is casting the spell by naming the spell. If a DM or player announces their spell while the opposing side holds a counterspell, they’re technically putting themselves at an informational disadvantage.
This information matters in the case of counterspell, because it’s only guaranteed to work…
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