The monk rolls forward, watching the ancient dragon carefully. There! The dragon rears back, inhaling sharply. The monk uses her opportunity for evasion to get out of the way right at the moment the dragon exhales an enormous cone of lightning energy.
Table of Contents
How Evasion Works
The rules state that: Beginning at 7th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as an ancient 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.
Evasion is like the big brother of the Rogue’s Uncanny Dodge. Between the two of them, Rogues are incredibly durable, considering they have d8 hit dice.
You don’t need to worry about activating this feature, spending a reaction, action, or bonus action to perform it, or knowing you can only use it a limited number of times per day. Evasion is always active, and you can do it as many times as you want.
The only real limitation is that it only applies to area effects that require a Dexterity saving throw. You might think that Dex saves are the most common, but they actually aren’t. Many area effects from spells require Constitution or Wisdom saving throws. It doesn’t matter how well (or poorly) you roll on those; Evasion can’t help you.
Who Can Use It?
Rogues and Monks gain the Evasion feature at 7th level. Both of these classes are proficient in Dexterity saving throws, so the creators likely figured that they’d benefit the most from having an ability that allows you to make good use of high Dexterity saving throws. Interestingly, Rangers are also proficient in Dexterity saving throws, and most Ranger builds revolve around Dexterity as the primary stat, but they don’t have access to this feature.
The lack of Evasion in Rangers is somewhat offset by their larger hit dice (d10 instead of the Rogue and Monk’s d8) and their access to spellcasting, although obviously, Arcane Trickster Rogues have access to magic and still get Evasion.
Similar Spells and Items
Just because your character isn’t a Rogue or Monk doesn’t mean you can’t get access to something similar to Evasion. There are plenty of spells and magic items that either grant bonuses or abilities that work similarly. We cover a few of these in the sections below.
Ring of Evasion
The ring of evasion is from the Basic Rules and is pretty simple to use. You start with 3 charges and can expend a single charge after failing a Dexterity saving throw to automatically succeed instead. You then regain 1d3 charges the next morning.
What’s nice about the ring is that it allows you to roll your Dexterity saving throw first, and see if you can succeed naturally before choosing to expend a charge. While it’s true that a Wizard with +1 to Dex probably won’t succeed on a Dexterity saving throw, he might get lucky and roll a natural 20. You wouldn’t want that to go to waste by declaring beforehand that you would just automatically succeed anyway.
Haste gives you a number of overall enhancements like +2 to your AC, an extra action on your turn, and advantage on Dexterity saving throws in addition to moving twice your speed. Sure, you can’t cast a spell with your hasted action, but you are so speedy that you can probably find something else to do that’s just as worthwhile. Area effects? No problem!
Like haste, enhance ability can give you advantage on Dexterity checks and saving throws. However, enhance ability depends on which type you choose when you initially cast the spell. Cat’s Grace is the Dexterity version so make sure that’s the one you select when you cast it. Plus, this spell lasts for up to an hour as long as the caster can maintain concentration.
You wouldn’t think it, but gaseous form actually has some uses in combat. We don’t recommend staying in this form for too long since you can’t attack from it, but you do have resistance to nonmagical damage and advantage on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws. Funnily enough, you can still take damage from an area effect even though you’re a wisp of smoke, but you can avoid the majority of it.
Leomund’s Tiny Hut
This spell is a bit tricky since it technically takes 1 minute to cast. However, if you can somehow prepare this spell beforehand or use a homebrewed item to cast it, you can easily provide shelter for yourself and any of your allies in a 10-foot radius. Everyone can hide in there until after the area effect has finished and then come out since nothing can penetrate the walls of the tiny hut.