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Mage Armor 5e Spell

The Sorcerer steps out from behind their boulder, shooting off a bolt of fire at an opponent. Though the Rogue tries to warn them, the Sorcerer overlooks the other foe sneaking up behind them until it’s too late. They wince, closing their eyes, but the blow seems to slide off as if repelled by a magical force. Grinning triumphantly, the Sorcerer stands their ground.

Mage Armor is a handy spell to keep casters safe, even if they can’t wear standard armor. Let’s learn more about their magical armor below.

What is Mage Armor Spell?

The spell’s text from the Player’s Handbook reads: “You touch a willing creature who isn’t wearing armor, and a protective magical force surrounds it until the spell ends. The target’s base AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier. The spell ends if the target dons armor or if you dismiss the spell as an action.”

Mage Armor 5e Stats

Casting Time1 action
ClassesSorcerer, Wizard
ComponentsVerbal, Somatic, Material*
Duration8 hours
*a piece of cured leather

How Does Mage Armor Work?

Mage Armor is a pretty straightforward spell. It doesn’t require concentration and lasts for 8 hours, providing better protection for its target than the best light armor (Studded leather armor).

Studded leather armor provides its wearer with 12 + the wearer’s Dexterity modifier and is convenient because it doesn’t give the wearer disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. Mage Armor works the same way, but with a base of 13. 

Is Mage Armor a Good Spell?

Mage Armor is an excellent spell for lower-level parties, particularly for magic users. Neither Sorcerers nor Wizards have any armor proficiencies, which means that wearing armor causes many problems.

Most casters forgo it unless they take a feat or train for the armor. Mage Armor gives a better AC than light armor, only costs a single 1st-level spell slot, and lasts 8 hours.

At higher levels, when enemies have attack bonuses of +10 or more (on average, that’s an attack roll of 20 versus your AC), Mage Armor isn’t as helpful. Casters prioritize other Ability Scores over Dexterity and, even with mage armor, likely only have an AC of 15 or 16.

Which Classes Can Use Mage Armor?

Mage Armor is available on the Sorcerer and Wizard spell lists. Other classes can take Mage Armor through certain feats or class features, but every other class has proficiencies in some armor, and likely won’t need the spell.


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