Yes you can. The Player’s Handbook specifically identifies casting a spell as one of the action types you can ready. There are a few important rules to be aware of when readying a spell which we’ve quoted from the Player’s Handbook (also found in the SRD) below:
“When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal but hold its energy, which you release with your reaction when the trigger occurs. To be readied, a spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and holding onto the spell’s magic requires concentration. If your concentration is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect.”Player’s Handbook
A few things to note from these rules:
- You can only ready a spell that requires an action to cast, so no readying bonus action spells.
- When you ready a spell, you cast it using your action, hold its energy and then release it with your reaction. That means the spell slot has been used, even if you never end up releasing the spell, so there is some risk in readying a spell.
- Readying a spell requires concentration. If your concentration is broken before releasing the spell, it is wasted. Equally, if you’re already concentrating on a spell, that spell then ends when you ready the new spell.
Some players have asked whether you can ready a spell, and hold it for more than one round (for instance if the stimulus for releasing the spell hasn’t occurred that round). Jeremy Crawford clarifies on this in some sage advice. Essentially, RAW states you can’t do this, you can only ready an action until your next turn, however, Crawford did explain that when he DMs, he lets his players hold a spell for more than 1 round if the need arises.
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