You or a creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target’s person.
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
School: 4th-level illusion
Player’s Handbook, pg. 246
Greater Invisibility 5e
When it comes to buffing the combat utility of an ally, very few level-appropriate spells are as potent as Greater Invisibility. It’s an offensive and defensive advantage that everyone loves to have on their character.
But the way invisibility works in DnD 5e is far from straightforward or intuitive, so this article will focus a lot on those rules. I’ll also cover how to use Greater Invisibility tactically, compare it to other buffs, and give tips for DMs playing against invisible creatures who want to avoid meta-gaming.
Who Can Cast Greater Invisibility in 5e?
The following classes have Greater Invisibility on their spell list:
The following subclasses get Greater Invisibility for free:
- Druid (Circle of the Land: Underdark)
Artificer (Armorer) (TCoE 15)
- Cleric (Twilight Domain) (TCoE 34)
And the following Warlock subclasses have Greater Invisibility on their expanded spell lists:
Warlock (The Archfey)
Warlock (The Genie: Djinni) (TCoE 73)
Warlock (The Undead) (VRGtR 30)
What Does Greater Invisibility Do in 5e?
Greater Invisibility turns a creature you touch invisible for 1 minute, along with anything they’re wearing or carrying (while on their person). This lasts for up to 1 minute, concentration permitting.
The invisible condition in DnD 5e reads:
An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature’s location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.
Attack rolls against the creature have disadvantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have advantage.
Normally, a creature needs to be heavily obscured to attempt hiding (PHB 177). An invisible creature can always attempt to hide; it still requires an action and a Dexterity (Stealth) check against creatures’ Passive Perception (PHB 177; 192)
Attacking does not end the invisible effect early, nor does taking damage.
What Are the Rules for Greater Invisibility in 5e?
This ruleset is a little different in that it mostly just covers the general rule for invisibility as a condition. Still, these are the most common issues that come up around the spell. Here are the important rules to remember for Greater Invisibility:
Creatures can still detect invisible creaures. As the invisible condition makes clear, an invisible creature’s location can still be detected by obvious signs like tracks and noises. And an unseen attacker gives away their location when they attack (PHB 194-5).
With all of this knowledge, enemies can pretty much always know where you are for the sake of attacking or hurling area-of-effect abilities in your direction.
Unless you use an action to Hide and succeed, which you can always do while invisible. But you’ll need to do it each time you give away your location.
Being detected while invisible does not interfere with invisibility’s other benefits. Even if a creature knows where you are while you’re invisible, they still have disadvantage attacking, and you still have advantage attacking them. In other words, the invisible condition’s second bullet point isn’t contingent on the first bullet point working.
This even applies to creatures with special senses, like Truesight, Blindsight, and Tremorsense. While these creatures can still “see” an invisible creature (negating the first bullet point of the condition), they still have disadvantage if they try to attack them, and the invisible creature still has advantage on attacks against them.
All of this has been confirmed by the game’s developers as intended, which you can check out in the clip below:
Only a spell or effect like Faerie Fire, that specifically states that an “affected creature can’t benefit from being invisible” can negate invisibility’s second bullet point.
Detect Magic does not reveal invisible units. But it does allow you to sense that a magical effect is present within 30 feet. You cannot see the aura around the invisible creature, because the spell states that the faint aura is only seen around a “visible creature.”
Many targeted spells can’t target invisible creatures. Any spell that specifies the target as a creature or creatures “that you can see” can’t target an invisible creature. And area of effect spells can still damage an invisible creature.
Invisible creatures do not provoke opportunity attacks, because you need to be able to see a target to make an opportunity attack (PHB 195).
Light can still be emitted from an invisible creature. Jeremy Crawford confirmed this.
Taking damage does not break invisibility. However, if you self-cast it, you will have to roll to maintain concentration, possibly ending the effect early.
How Do I Use Greater Invisibility in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use Greater Invisibility in DnD 5e:
Give it to your martial class allies (especially Paladins and Rogues). Martial classes usually get a lot more mileage out of Greater Invisibility than spellcasters. With Extra Attack, the effect of attack advantage is even greater.
Not to mention that martial classes are usually in greater danger of being attacked, making the defensive advantages of the spell more likely to come into play as well.
There are two classes in particular that get incredible benefits from Greater Invisibility:
Paladin: Attack advantage means more chances for critical strikes, which are really, really impactful on Paladins. Divine Smite can be applied after seeing the result of the roll, and that can add up to a whole lot of extra damage dice on a hit.
And giving enemies disadvantage on attacks against a high-AC character is actually more potent than on a low-AC character.
Rogue: Sneak Attack relies on having attack advantage or having an ally beside your target — being invisible means you always have attack advantage, so you always get that bonus damage from Sneak Attack.
And having advantage increases your chance of landing a critical strike, which is almost as good on Rogues as it is on Paladins, thanks to multiplying all those extra damage dice from Sneak Attack.
Oh, and since Rogues can always attempt to Hide as a bonus action, you can even shake enemies from knowing your location after every attack, making it much harder to counterplay against you.
Use it as a defensive boon. While Greater Invisibility is usually used primarily for its offensive bonuses, it’s also good for protecting vulnerable allies. For example, support casters who are concentrating on vital spells or important NPCs who are flirting with death but refuse to retreat.
Prevent Counterspells. Counterspell must be used in reaction “when you see a creature” casting a spell. If you’re invisible, you can’t be seen, so you can’t be Counterspelled.
Twin it for devastating results. If you’re a Sorcerer, you can use the Twinned Spell metamagic on Greater Invisibility for 4 Sorcery Points. It’s expensive, but it’s also incredibly powerful. Especially if you have a Rogue and a Paladin in your group, or any other character built around landing big critical strike damage.
Unfortunately, those who pick up the Metamagic Adept feat can’t pull this off, since they only have 2 Sorcery Points to work with.
Who Can I Target With Greater Invisibility 5e?
You can target any creature you can touch with Greater Invisibility, including yourself. The target need not be willing.
Is Greater Invisibility 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Greater Invisibility is a fantastic combat buff, especially on Paladins and Rogues. Providing strong offensive and defensive bonuses as well as other utility, Greater Invisibility is a spell that any support caster or caster in a martial-heavy group should consider getting.
Greater Invisibility 5e Compared to Invisibility
Many new players look at the 2nd-level Invisibility spell and wonder why the 4th-level Greater Invisibility spell is indeed greater. After all, the 2nd-level spell lasts for an hour compared to the 4th-level spell’s 1-minute duration.
The answer is that Invisibility breaks if the target attacks or casts a spell, making it useless as a combat buff. Instead, the regular Invisibility spell is used for utility — things like infiltrating buildings and evading detection.
Plus, it can be upcast to target additional creatures, giving it upcast potential.
Ultimately, both spells are useful, just for different things.
Greater Invisibility 5e DM Tips
For DMs going up against players that rely on Greater Invisibility too much, here are a few tips for counterplay:
Take realistic steps to counter invisible creatures. Invisible enemies are terrifying. Without even being meta-gamey, many creatures would take note of an invisible enemy in their ranks and take active steps to contain them or nullify their advantage. In other words, tip #1 is don’t feel bad for failing to ignore the invisible guy — that’s not how being hidden works anyway, RAW.
Go for spellcaster’s concentration. This is always a good one, especially if the spellcaster used it on an ally rather than themselves. With one fewer creature to hit (i.e., the now invisible ally), it makes sense that creatures would be more likely to pick out the spellcaster — especially if they saw them cast it on their ally.
Even the odds. Invisibility is useful because it creates an imbalance in unseen attackers and consistent attack advantage/disadvantage. But other things can achieve that in an area of effect, like the spells Darkness and Fog Cloud.
Because when everyone’s essentially invisible, the power of being invisible stops being, well, so powerful.
Use Faerie Fire. It’s a fairly common 1st-level spell, so it’s not the craziest thing for a spellcaster it prepared. Don’t use this trick every fight, or your players will (rightly) call shenanigans.
As a reminder, I’m not suggesting that you adversarially try to shut down your players’ legitimate and strong tactics around Greater Invisibility. These tips are just to help you challenge your players if you feel that combat is getting a bit stale and repetitive due to the spell.