Mage Armor 5e Guide: Protect Yourself with Magic

Mage Armor 5e is a first-level abjuration spell that lasts for 8 hours and can be cast on a willing creature that is not wearing armor in dnd. When cast, the spell creates a magical field around the target, providing them with a base Armor Class (AC) of 13 + their Dexterity modifier.

This means that the target’s AC will be increased by an amount that depends on their Dexterity modifier, making them harder to hit.

Benefits of using Mage Armor

There are several benefits to using Mage Armor as a spell in D&D 5e:

  • provides a significant boost to the target’s AC: Mage Armor provides a baseline AC of 13, which is higher than the AC of most unarmored characters. This means that the target is less likely to be hit by a melee or ranged attack.
  • Can be cast on any willing creature:  Contrary to some spells that can only be cast on the caster, Mage Armor can be cast on any willing creature, including allies.
  • Does not interfere with the target’s abilities: Since Mage Armor is a magical effect, it does not restrict the target’s movement or abilities in any way. The target can still cast spells, make attacks, and perform any other actions as normal.
  • Lasts for 8 hours: Mage Armor has a duration of 8 hours, which means that the target can benefit from the increased AC for an extended period. This is particularly useful in situations where combat is likely, such as during an adventuring day.

Mechanics of Mage Armor in 5e

: Protect Yourself with Magic: A Guide to Mage Armor in 5e

The mechanics of Mage Armor in D&D 5e are straightforward. When a caster casts the Mage Armor spell on a willing creature, the spell creates a magical field around the target. This field provides the target with a base Armor Class (AC) of 13 plus their Dexterity modifier.

Spell level and duration: Mage Armor is a 1st-level abjuration spell that lasts 8 hours. Once the spell is cast, the target will receive the benefits of the Mage Armor spell for 8 hours before the spell ends.

Armor Class bonuses: It provides a base AC of 13 + the target’s Dexterity modifier. It’s important to note that this bonus does not stack with other forms of armor or shields, but it does stack with other types of AC bonuses such as those from spells like Shield of Faith.

Spellcasting Requirements: To cast Mage Armor, a caster must have a verbal and somatic component, which means they must speak and make specific hand gestures to cast the spell. Additionally, the caster must have the Mage Armor spell prepared or on their spell list.

Resistance and Immunity: Mage Armor is a magical abjuration spell. This means that creatures with magic resistance or immunity to abjuration spells can resist it. If a creature has magic resistance, they have an advantage on saving throws against the Mage Armor spell.

If a creature is immune to abjuration spells, the Mage Armor spell does not affect them.

Classes That Can Use Mage Armor

Mage Armor is available to spellcasters in D&D 5e, including the following classes:

  • Wizard
  • Sorcerer
  • Warlock

Class Abilities Guide

Protect Yourself with Magic: A Guide to Mage Armor in 5e

Several class abilities can enhance the effectiveness of the Mage Armor spell:

Improved Mage Armor (Wizard)

At 10th level, Wizards can choose to enhance the Mage Armor spell with their Arcane Ward ability. When they cast Mage Armor, they can choose to spend an additional spell slot of 1st level or higher to create a magical ward around themselves.

This ward provides temporary hit points equal to twice the level of the spell slot expended, making the Wizard even harder to hit in combat.

Draconic Resilience (Sorcerer)

Sorcerers with the Draconic Bloodline subclass gain an unarmored defense ability that allows them to add their Constitution modifier to their AC when they are not wearing armor. This bonus stacks with the bonus from Mage Armor, providing an even greater defensive boost.

Armor of Shadows (Warlock)

Warlocks with the Pact of the Tome can choose the Book of Shadows as their tome. This grants them access to the Mage Armor spell, even if it’s not on their spell list. Additionally, they can use the Armor of Shadows ability to cast Mage Armor at will without expending a spell slot.

These class abilities can make the Mage Armor spell even more useful and versatile in combat, allowing spellcasters to better protect themselves and their allies from harm.

Effective use of Mage Armor in combat

Mage Armor can be an effective defensive spell in combat, especially for spellcasters who may not have access to heavy armor. To make the most of Mage Armor, spellcasters should try to cast it early in combat, before engaging in combat. This will give the spell’s 8-hour duration plenty of time to be useful.

Additionally, spellcasters can use Mage Armor as a way to protect themselves or their allies who may be more vulnerable to attacks. For example, if the party’s healer is being targeted by enemies, a spellcaster can use Mage Armor to boost their AC and make them harder to hit.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantage Disadvantage
Provides a +3 bonus to Armor ClassRequires concentration to maintain, which means the caster cannot concentrate on other spells while it is active
Does not require any physical armor or shields, allowing characters to maintain their dexterity and mobilityDoes not provide any additional benefits beyond the Armor Class bonus, such as resistance to certain types of damage or protection against certain effects
Can be cast multiple times a day as long as the caster has available spell slotsCan be subject to spell resistance or immunity, rendering it ineffective against certain creatures
It is very convenient for characters who do not have proficiency in armor or shieldsRequires a spell slot to cast, which can limit the number of spells available to the caster for other purposes
It Can be used in conjunction with other defensive spells and abilitiesCan be less effective than physical armor and shields at higher levels, where opponents have higher attack bonuses and more powerful attacks

Medium Armor vs Mage Armor

: Protect Yourself with Magic: A Guide to Mage Armor in 5e

Here is a table comparing Medium Armor and Mage Armor:

Medium Armor Mage Armor
AC 11 + Dex mod 13 + Dex mod
Stealth Disadvantage No penalty
Spellcasting No No
Strength req. Yes No
cost varies Free
Weight Heavy N/A
Donning/doffing 5-10 minutes 1 action

Note: The AC for Medium Armor is 12 + the character’s Dexterity modifier, but some medium armor also imposes a maximum Dexterity bonus, which is not factored into this table.

Heavy Armor vs Mage Armor

Sure, here’s a table comparing heavy armor and mage armor:

Aspect Heavy Armor Mage Armor
Physical Protection High Low
Magical Protection Low High
Mobility Low High
Weight Heavy Light
Resistance to Physical Attacks Strong Weak
Resistance to Magical Attacks Weak Strong
Availability Common Rare
Cost Low High

As you can see, heavy armor provides strong physical protection but lacks magical protection, while mage armor provides high magical protection but low physical protection. Heavy armor is also typically heavy and restricts mobility, while mage armor is light and allows for greater mobility.

Heavy armor is often more readily available and less expensive than mage armor, but it may not be as effective against magical attacks. On the other hand, mage armor is rare and costly but provides better protection against magical attacks.

Light Armor vs Mage Armor

Here is a table comparing Light Armor and Mage Armor in Dungeons and Dragons 5e:

Light Armor Mage Armor
AC Bonus Varies based on armor type and character’s Dexterity modifier 13 + character’s Dexterity modifier
Required Proficiency Light Armor proficiency None
Strength Requirement None None
Stealth Disadvantage Depends on the armor type No
Weight Varies based on armor type N/A
Cost Varies based on armor type N/A
Spellcasting Restrictions None Cannot be used in conjunction with any other armor

As shown in the table, Light Armor provides a variable AC bonus depending on the type of armor worn and the character’s Dexterity modifier, while Mage Armor provides a fixed AC bonus of 13 + the character’s Dexterity modifier.

Light Armor requires proficiency, while Mage Armor does not require any proficiency. There are also differences in the stealth disadvantage, weight, and cost between the two options.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Mage Armor cannot be used in conjunction with any other armor, so characters who want to benefit from its AC bonus must go without other types of armor.

Collaborating with Party Members

To make the most of Mage Armor, spellcasters can collaborate with their party members to maximize its usage. For example, the party’s tank or frontline fighter can engage enemies in combat, drawing their attention away from the spellcaster or other vulnerable party members.

This will allow the spellcaster to cast Mage Armor on themselves or allies without fear of being attacked.

Additionally, spellcasters can work with other party members to coordinate their spells and abilities. For example, a cleric can cast Shield of Faith on the same target as Mage Armor, providing an additional boost to their AC.

Similarly, a rogue with the Evasion ability can use their abilities to avoid area-of-effect attacks, making Mage Armor even more effective in combat.

By working together and coordinating their spells and abilities, party members can make the most of Mage Armor and other defensive spells to stay safe in combat.

Complementary Spells and Abilities

Some several spells and abilities can complement the Mage Armor spell, including:

  • Shield: This spell provides a temporary boost to AC, making it an excellent complement to Mage Armor. Shield and Mage Armor can make a character nearly impossible to hit in combat when used together.
  • Mirror Image: This spell creates duplicates of a character, making it harder for enemies to determine which one is the real target. When used with Mage Armor, Mirror Image can make a character nearly untouchable in combat.
  • Unarmored Defense: Certain classes, such as monks and barbarians, have access to unarmored defense abilities that allow them to add their Dexterity or Constitution modifier to their AC. When used with Mage Armor, these abilities can provide even more protection.
  • Shield of Faith: Like Shield, Shield of Faith provides a temporary boost to AC, making it a great spell to use in conjunction with Mage Armor.

Magic Items to enhance Mage Armor

Several magic items in D&D 5e can enhance the effectiveness of Mage Armor, including:

Ring of Protection: This magic ring provides a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws, making it an excellent complement to Mage Armor.

Bracers of Defense: These magic bracers provide a +2 bonus to AC when the wearer is not wearing armor, making them an ideal complement to Mage Armor.

Robe of the Archmagi: This powerful magic robe provides a +2 bonus to AC and saving throws, making it an excellent addition to any Mage Armor user’s gear.

Multiclassing Options

Characters who use Mage Armor can benefit from multiclassing in certain classes, such as:

  • Monk: The monk’s unarmored defense ability can stack with the AC bonus provided by Mage Armor, making the character even harder to hit.
  • Barbarian: Similar to the monk, the barbarian’s unarmored defense ability can complement Mage Armor, providing even more protection in combat.
  • Fighter:  The fighter’s Action Surge allows them to cast both Mage Armor and an offensive spell in the same turn, providing both protection and the ability to attack.

Complementary options like spells, items, and multiclassing can boost Mage Armor users’ combat effectiveness and protection of allies.

Limitations of Mage Armor

  • Duration: The Mage Armor spell has a duration of 8 hours, which means it needs to be recast every time it runs out. To overcome this limitation, characters can cast the spell before entering combat or rest to replenish their spell slots.
  • Concentration: Mage Armor requires concentration to maintain, which means the caster cannot concentrate on other spells while it is active. To overcome this limitation, characters can use spells or abilities that do not require concentration or have other party members provide support.
  • Spell Resistance: Some creatures may have resistance or immunity to spells, which can render Mage Armor ineffective. To overcome this limitation, characters can use other defensive options or spells that are not subject to spell resistance or immunity.

Optimization of Mage Armor

  • Consider the character’s role in the party: Characters who are intended to be frontline fighters may benefit more from heavy armor and shields, while characters who are intended to be spellcasters may prefer to rely on Mage Armor and other defensive spells.
  • Use a mix of defensive options: Characters can use a combination of different defensive options, such as Mage Armor, Shield, and armor, to create a well-rounded defense.
  • Be aware of resource management: Mage Armor requires a spell slot and concentration to maintain, so characters should be mindful of their resources and use them wisely.

By acknowledging Mage Armor’s limitations and ways to surpass them, managing spell resistance and immunity, and balancing it with other defense options. Characters can enhance their combat proficiency and protect themselves and their allies more efficiently.


Mage Armor is a useful spell in Dungeons and Dragons 5e that provides a significant boost to a character’s Armor Class. By utilizing complementary spells, abilities, magic items, and multiclassing options, characters can become even more effective in combat and better able to protect themselves and their allies.
However, it is important to understand the limitations of Mage Armor and how to overcome them, as well as to balance them with other defensive options. By doing so, characters can make the most of this spell and increase their chances of survival in the dangerous world of D&D.


Does Mage Armor stack with other AC bonuses?

Mage Armor adds a new source of AC which stacks with other bonuses from different sources, such as wearing armor or having a high Dexterity score. However, bonuses from the same source, like two spells that provide a bonus to AC, do not stack and only the highest bonus applies.

Does Mage Armor protect against all attacks?

No, Mage Armor only protects against physical attacks that target the target’s AC. It does not protect against spells that require a saving throw or other types of damage that do not rely on AC.

Is Mage Armor worth using?

Mage Armor can be a useful spell for spellcasters who do not have access to traditional armor, or for those who want additional protection against physical attacks. However, its effectiveness depends on the specific situation and the types of enemies encountered.

Can I cast Mage Armor on someone else?

Yes, you can cast Mage Armor on someone else as long as they are a willing creature and within range of the spell (which is 60 feet). The spell’s description states that you touch a willing creature, imbuing them with a magical protective force.

Can I cast Mage Armor on an object?

No, you cannot cast Mage Armor on an object. The spell specifically targets a creature, and its effect is to create a magical barrier around the target’s body, increasing their Armor Class. It cannot be used to protect an object or create a magical shield around a specific area.

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