In my opinion the action economy issue is different because the negative impact here inherently strikes at core areas of the game's playability
I agree... requiring to ready an action makes the tactic very inconvenient, because you'll be wasting your time unless the target casts a spell AND you identify it correctly AND you have the appropriate counterspell available.
This is why my starting suggestion is to allow counterspelling as a reaction
. It might sound a little too good, since you're not going to waste any action on a "negative case", you're going to use your action only when you actually CAN counterspell.
BUT let's try to keep in mind a few points and see if my suggestion holds up:
- as per the current rules on reactions, you will lose your action next turn, so you have a choice: either you counterspell a little earlier than your turn, or you take you whole turn perhaps to cast a spell on your own (this is totally fair IMHO)
- there are currently no rules for identifying spells as they are cast, so I assumed that there is no need for that, i.e. by default you know immediately what is the spell being cast, therefore this is not what gives counterspelling a chance of failure
- I suggested Dispel Magic
because it re-introduces a chance of failure (except against spells of level up to 2) even in the absence of a spell identification check
- second reason for Dispel Magic was because I think that requiring exactly
the same spell to counterspell (like e.g. casting Fireball to counterspell a Fireball) makes it too infrequent... you need to have the same spell known and prepared; this can still be a possibility, but at least should not be the only way to counterspell
While I was checking the Dispel Magic description... I found out that there is already a Counterspell
spell in the playtest package!!
And it works pretty much like that, it's a reaction spell.
Now the only question that remains for me is: do we really need two
different spells, one for counterspelling and one for dispelling? Would it be too good to have only one spell for both applications? I think this is not actually a critical difference, for a Wizard one more spell to learn is not a big deal, but it might be a bigger deal for a Sorcerer or whoever has a very limited number of spells to pick.