dnd 5e – Can a Maurezhi raise an undead hit by a cleric’s Destroy Undead?

Yes, it probably can, but it will depend on the DM’s ruling

In normal English usage, when we say something is destroyed, that usually means it has suffered quite extreme damage, beyond any effective repair; and if we were to use it to describe the body of what had been a living creature, it would strongly suggest that beyond simply being killed the body had suffered quite catastrophic damage. However, it does not suggest that the body has evaporated into thin air or is otherwise completely removed from consideration – there are still remains to inspect.

To “destroy” or be “destroyed” is never given any special definition by the rules of the game, so we rely on the context it is used in and the normal English meaning to understand what is meant when something is destroyed. However, it seems most likely to me that “destroyed” is used in this case to be equivalent to being “killed” – and the word choice is simply because sometimes the writers think it does not make sense to say that an undead creature is “killed”, because they’re not strictly alive. There are a few examples of this kind of use of “destroyed” throughout the published texts.

The description of a certain artifact from Curse of Strahd mentions “destroying” Strahd, as opposed to killing him:

The Sunsword’s special purpose is to destroy Strahd, (…)

The Bonecounter from Sleeping Dragon’s Wake uses the language:

Whenever this weapon is used to destroy an undead creature (…)

Neither of these items has any special property that would more thoroughly obliterate an undead creature beyond their normal ability to hit things.

The description of the Grave Cleric, as well, states:

Followers of these deities seek to put wandering spirits to rest, destroy the undead, and ease the suffering of the dying.

In full context, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the “destruction” that would be caused to a ghoul by a Cleric’s ability to Destroy Undead is intended to be more thorough than the “destruction” that would be caused by thwacking one a few times with the Bonecounter. It’s simply that the undead are described as “destroyed”, rather than “killed”.

There is a fair argument that the game rules are unclear about this, and it is certainly the case that many DMs would describe the Cleric’s power to destroy undead as vaporising the unfortunate creatures or turning them to ash or dust; in those circumstances, it does seem unreasonable that a Maurezhi could eyeball a pile of ghoul ash and cause it to spontaneously pop back up into a healthy ghoul again. However, it’s also a valid interpretation of the Cleric’s ability that an affected undead creature simply loses their animating force and falls down dead without the physical body being any worse for wear.

Ultimately, the rules are not explicit about the results, so it’s the DM’s call whether or not a “destroyed” undead creature is a valid target for the Maurezhi; but I at least would rule that it is, and normal amounts of destruction are within the Maurezhi’s power to reverse (unlike, say, a ghoul that was disintegrated).