The DnD 5e Wizard Guide (2022)

Published on March 5, 2020, Last modified on July 8th, 2022

In this post, we will be examining the wizard’s class features and how you can optimize your wizard through choosing your race, background, ability scores, subclass, feats, and spells.

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant as a deep dive into the DnD 5e wizard. For a quick overview of other 5e classes, check out our Guide to DnD 5e Classes.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your wizard. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized
So if you’re ready, grab your spellbook and cast fireball until all of your problems go away.

Did you know?

D&D Beyond can help create your characters by making choices using a step-by-step approach. Full customization and control of your character, none of the flipping through hundreds of pages to reference obscure rules.

D&D 5e Wizard Overview

Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Arcane Recovery 3 2
2nd +2 Arcane Tradition 3 3
3rd +2 3 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3
5th +3 4 4 3 2
6th +3 Arcane Tradition feature 4 4 3 3
7th +3 4 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 2
9th +4 4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Arcane Tradition feature 5 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Arcane Tradition feature 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Spell Mastery 5 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Signature Spell 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Playstyle

Wizards are spellcasters that have studied the fundamental forces of magic itself in order to weave it to their will.

Wizards are a class that relies on their INT to cast spells, outsmart opponents, and get themselves out of tricky situations. This reliance on INT will become apparent to players as they realize that they have to use their brain to manage a massive spell list and be the party member everyone relies on to always have a plan (thank Gandalf for setting that unrealistic expectation).

Strengths

The wizard class is the epitome of a full caster. They have an unparalleled spell list that they can prepare spells from every day to ensure they are always ready for whatever situations may arise.

The wizard’s strengths really lie in their versatility. Falling from a building? Got a spell for that. Need to kill a clumped together group of bad guys? Got a spell for that. Need to infiltrate a tightly patrolled encampment? Got a spell for that.

Weaknesses

A wizard’s weaknesses are about what you would expect. They have very low AC and hit points and struggle with anything physical.

Best Races for Wizard

Standard Races

Dragonborn:
  • Gem: The flight can help you keep out of reach while you cast powerful spells down on your enemies. The resistance and Breath Weapon can help if you get caught in melee range.
  • Draconblood: Draconblood offers the +2 INT that wizards want, though the CHA is not as good as DEX or CON would be. Darkvision is handy but Forceful Presence likely won't be too useful given your CHA score.
Dwarf: No INT is tough and the wizard won’t be tanking any time soon. Additional hit points are always helpful, especially with the meager d6 hit dice.
  • Hill: A bonus to WIS can occasionally help with Wisdom saves, additional hit points are useful.
  • Mark of Warding: CON can help with survivability and INT is necessary to make this subrace worth it. Outside of that, there is a lot of overlap between the spells and none that are particularly exciting for wizards.
  • Mountain: STR won't help but light and medium armor proficiency is always nice for casters.
Elf: Elves get a DEX bonus which can somewhat help the miserable AC of a Wizard. High Elves get an INT boost and a free cantrip of your choice, as well as an extra language for your roleplaying needs.
  • Aereni High: Aereni high elves get a DEX bonus which can somewhat help the miserable AC of a wizard. They also get an INT boost and a free cantrip of your choice, as well as an extra language for your roleplaying needs.
  • Eladrin: +1 CHA will be a minor benefit in social situations. The free casting of misty step always interesting to a wizard. Unless you pump your CHA quite high, the bonus effects won't do much so it might be worth going with the spring effect because it doesn't use CHA.
  • Eladrin (Variant): +1 INT makes this a viable pick. The +2 DEX helps with AC and the free casting of misty step is exactly what you're looking for as a wizard.
  • Mark of Shadow: +2 DEX is okay but not INT makes this suboptimal. The buffs to stealth and free minor illusion and invisibility are nice, but the spell list has significant overlap.
Gnome: +2 INT is a great start for any wizard, along with Darkvision and Gnome Cunning.
Half-Elf: Not being able to pick up a +2 to INT is going to make the Half-Elf a tough go for Wizards.
Half-Orc: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Halfling: No INT for Wizards.
Human:
  • Mark of Making: Mark of Making provides the best ability score increases for a wizard with +2 INT, but has a ton of overlap with classes’ spells list.
  • Mark of Passage: Useful for Bladesingers for mobility, though they will need to focus on their INT as much as possible for future ASIs.
  • Standard: A middle of the road pick because they increase all their ability scores by 1.
  • Variant: Getting INT plus a proficiency and a feat at 1st-level is typically really good. Picking up Shadow Touched or Fey Touched is a great way to get extra spells at 1st-level. Bladesingers would really enjoy the free feat for something like Mobile, Spell Sniper, or War Caster.
Tiefling: INT bonus subraces will work just fine with wizards, although +2 would be preferred. Access to more spells is never a bad thing, and you have the choice of which spells best suit your playstyle.
  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +1 INT, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +1 INT bonus, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: Decent spells, especially vicious mockery, but enthrall isn't good. Use Feral to get INT.
  • Variant – Feral: If playing with variants, use the Feral ASI. DEX is better than CHA for most wizards.
  • Variant – Hellfire: Replacing hellish rebuke with burning hands is personal preference, so this subrace is just as good as the Asmodeus. Use Feral to get INT.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight without needing to cast a spell is amazing. Use Feral to get INT.

Non-Standard Races

Aarakocra: The only beneficial thing here is flight.
  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for wizards.
Aasimar: Nothing here a wizard.
Bugbear: Nothing here for a wizard.
  • Updated: Bugbear wizards can now take INT, and the new Surprise Attack can be very effective with spell attacks that deliver multiple hits. You can get scorching ray at 2nd-level, which allows you to make three ranged spell attacks for 2d6 damage. With Surprise Attack, these now do 4d6 damage each bringing you up to 12d6 damage as early as level 2.
Centaur: Nothing here for a wizard.
  • Updated: Nothing here for a wizard.
Changeling: Wizards can use the free ability score increase for INT, though they would much rather see +2. Since they have access to so many spells, a wizard could use Shapechanger in combination with a whole host of Illusion spells to make a pretty sly character.
  • Updated: This still isn't a great choice for wizards as they will likely not choose to take CHA, rendering the skill proficiencies less effective. At least they can cast Illusion spells to help their deceptiveness and take +2 INT.
Fairy: The flight option offers a great evasion tool to help with your lack of durability as a wizard. The free spells are always welcome.
Firbolg: Wizards need INT to be effective.
  • Updated: Though they can choose +2 INT, a firbolg wizard would be redundant because wizards get access to the firbolg's spells already.
Genasi:
  • Fire: Ideally the wizard would like to see +2 INT, but there is plenty here to make up for that. Increased survivability from the CON bonus and Fire Resistance that the wizard desperately needs, Darkvision, and a useful cantrip to boot.
Gith: +1 INT is fine, but wizards would really like +2.
  • Githyanki: Interesting for the additional armor options. The spells, while useful as a free cast, can all be obtained by wizards already.
  • Githzerai: Good protection from conditions which will be helpful for spellcasting and getting out of dangerous situations. The spells, while useful as a free cast, can all be obtained by wizards already.
Goblin: Wizards need INT to be effective.
  • Updated: Now that goblins can choose INT they are a solid pick for a wizard. Fury of the Small will add damage to all of your spells and Nimble Escape is a great failsafe to get out of harms way if you find yourself within melee range. Goblins are also now a strong choice for Bladesingers for boosted weapon damage and more maneuverability on the battlefield.
Goliath: Wizards need INT to be effective.
  • Updated: Not a terrible choice since Stone's Endurance will do lots for survivability, though ideally your wizard won't be taking lots of damage to begin with. Even Bladesingers won't be too interested in the goliath since they have access to shield, absorb elements, Bladesong, and Song of Defense to stay alive.
Harengon: A small bonus to initiative can help you drop a big AoE spell and the free disengages can help if you get caught in melee distance. While all these abilities are "nice to haves", there is nothing here is particularly exciting for an wizard.
Hobgoblin: Unlike artificers, wizards don’t naturally get access to any armor, so the light armor proficiency from Martial Training will do wonders for survivability. The light armor, combined with CON and Saving Face for saving throws and concentration checks creates a good baseline for a sturdy wizard build.
  • Updated: Bladesingers could use Fey Gift in combat, but other subclasses are far too squishy as they would need to be close to an ally to provide the Help action. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.
Kalashtar: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Kenku: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Kobold: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Leonin: The +2 CON is okay for hit points and concentration checks, but not getting an INT or even DEX bonus really hurts. The Daunting Roar ability can help you get out of situations where you find yourself surrounded, but so could a misty step.
Lineage: None of the lineage options provide anything particularly exciting for wizards.
Lizardfolk: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Loxodon: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Minotaur: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Orc: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Satyr: No INT really hurts the viability here for a wizard. The Magic Resistance and extra movement speed are good enough to make the satyr race a consideration though.
Shifter: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Simic Hybrid: INT is the best choice for the ability score, but DEX could also work if you are building a melee Bladesinger. Carapace is a good choice for the squishier caster classes and is even more tempting for a Bladesinger.
Tabaxi: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Tortle: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Triton: Wizards need INT to be effective.
Vedalken: +2 INT is just about all you need for your average wizard build. Vedalken Dispassion helps when fighting other spellcasters, and Tireless Protection offers you the chance to get some skill or tool proficiencies you may not normally have access to.
Warforged: Most wizards stay out of combat range whenever they can, with the exception of Bladesinger wizards. Take INT as the free ASI choice and you have a viable and more durable wizard build.
Yuan-ti Pureblood: +2 INT would of course be better here, but Magic Resistance is just so good that +1 will do.

Best Backgrounds for Wizards

Acolyte: Religion and Insight are already available to wizards but you do get two languages, and gaining shelter in certain places of worship can be handy.

Cloistered Scholar: Standard choice for wizards. You get two INT skills, two languages, and better access to libraries for finding more spells.

Sage: Two INT skills and two languages.

Ability Scores

Ability Score Increases (ASI) at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level.

Wizards need INT and nothing else is critically important.

STR: STR is not useful to a wizard unless they are going for a heavy armor build.

DEX: Wizards have a notoriously low AC so a high DEX is the best way to avoid getting hit. Most wizards use mage armor to pump their AC, which stacks with DEX. If you are going for a heavy armor build, DEX can be mostly ignored.

CON: More hit points and better CON saves make the wizard less squishy.

INT: This is the most important stat for the wizard, pump this as high as you can.

WIS: Can help with WIS saves and Perception.

CHA: Leave this to other classes.

 

Wizard Class Progression

1st Level

Hit Points: Wizards have a measly d6 hit dice. You can somewhat mitigate this by increasing CON since you only need to worry about INT as your main stat.

Saves: People often call INT one of the worst stats because INT saves don’t happen very often.

Proficiencies: No armor proficiencies and the weapon choice is barely worth mentioning. But you weren’t really hoping to swing a greatsword with your wizard, were you?

SkillsUnfortunately the wizard only gets to pick two skills.

  • Arcana (INT): You will probably be the party member who is relied on for Arcana checks, and great flavor too.
  • History (INT): Can be nice if you enjoy lore and roleplaying, but you will make your DM work extra hard!
  • Insight (WIS): Your WIS won’t be high enough to make this worth it.
  • Investigation (INT): This will be one of your go-to skills for exploration encounters.
  • Medicine (WIS): Neat in a pinch, but low WIS can make this tricky.
  • Religion (INT): Same as History but sometimes more useful if your campaign includes gods.

Spellcasting: If you want to cast spells you’ve come to the right place. Wizards are the best at what they do. Wizards have a unique way of discovering and preparing spells via their spellbook. This book allows wizards to copy spells that they have found while adventuring, which allows wizards to know more spells than they get by simply leveling up. The downside of the spellbook is, if it is destroyed or lost, the wizards will be stuck with the spells they currently have prepared until they can find their book or create a replacement. Wizards also get access to ritual casting which is a great way to stretch spell slots if you have time to perform the ritual. Wizards can use an arcane focus as their spellcasting focus.

Arcane Recovery: One of the biggest challenges a wizard faces is knowing when to use important spell slots. Arcane Recovery makes the spell slot system a bit less punishing.

Optional Rule: Additional Wizard Spells: The expanded spell list offers new options for wizards but doesn’t feel like it diminishes any of the other classes. More options are usually a good thing and that is the case here.

2nd Level

At 2nd level wizards get to choose their Arcane Tradition. These options all have their own merits and playstyle.

Bladesinger

The Bladesinger subclass provides everything you need to make an effective melee/spellcasting hybrid character. Not only is it loads of fun, it's also quite strong.

Check out our Bladesinger 5e Guide for build optimization tips.

Chronurgy Magic

Chronurgy Magic Wizards can manipulate the flow of time and bend it to their will. The features this subclass gets access to are all useful and unique.

  • 2nd level
    • Chronal Shift: Forcing a creature to reroll their attack, ability check, or saving throw is incredibly strong and is a great use of a Wizard’s reaction, especially since you already get this at 2nd level. What makes this extra cool is that you can use it on allies or enemies and you get to use this ability after seeing if the roll succeeds or fails.
    • Temporal Awareness: Your Wizard will likely max out their INT, meaning that you’ll get a huge boost to your initiative roll. Taking your turn before your enemies in a fight is very valuable as you can immediately use some crowd control to give your party an advantage.
  • 6th level
    • Momentary Stasis: The nice part of this ability is that it is basically a spell without burning a spell slot. The drawbacks are that many creatures have good CON saves and that it burns an entire action to use. If you fail, you may have been better off just casting a more reliable control or damage spell.
  • 10th level
    • Arcane Abeyance: This is a very fun feature. If you know you’ll be fighting soon, there’s really no downside to storing away a spell for later. You could give the spell to your ally so that they can buff themselves, or even to your familiar so you can cast two spells in a single round. In the worst case, you can just hold onto the spell and cast it yourself if you don’t have somebody to give it to.
  • 14th level
    • Convergent Future: Chronal Shift is good because it forces a reroll, but this ability literally just lets you decide the outcome. It does cause you to gain one level of exhaustion, but having a single level of exhaustion really isn’t the end of the world.

Graviturgy Magic

Graviturgy Magic Wizards can manipulate gravity and bend it to their will. Not as powerful as Chronurgy, Graviturgy is still quite flavorful with some interesting abilities.

  • 2nd level
    • Adjust Density: The effects of this ability certainly don’t justify using your concentration. You would be much better off concentrating on a more powerful spell as the effects are quite situational.
  • 6th level
    • Gravity Well: This adds onto the effect of any spell that you land by moving the target 5 feet. It can be combined quite nicely with certain area of effect spells, and can be used to move a creature into or out of harm’s way.
  • 10th level
    • Violent Attraction: Increased fall damage is quite situational, but bolstering an ally’s attack is a nice use of your reaction if you have no other use for it on a turn. If you have a high INT modifier the damage will really add up since you can use it many times throughout the day.
  • 14th level
    • Event Horizon: Powerful, but risky. Since enemies have to be within 30 feet of you, it’s best to use this if you have good AC, hit points, or at least a fail safe like shield or misty step.

Order of Scribes

An Order of Scribes wizard excels at learning new spells and is at its best when it has a huge spellbook to pull from. If you want to play this subclass, make sure you have a plan on how you will get access to lots of gp and spells to copy.

  • 2nd level
    • Wizardly Quill: The best part of this feature is that you can copy spells into your spellbook much faster, though it will still cost gp.
    • Awakened Spellbook: Great for role-playing and adds even more utility to spells. Being able to change damage types of your spells on the fly is great if you know that a certain enemy is resistant to a specific damage type. Additionally, sometimes you want to pull off your ritual spells without waiting or burning a spell slot, and this lets you do just that once per day.
  • 6th level
    • Manifest Mind: This is a good scouting tool and can be used to maintain oversight of an area. Interestingly, you can cast spells from the location of the Manifest Mind instead of your own, so it’s a great way to set up an ambush or combo if you’re creative.
  • 10th level
    • Master Scrivener: Sadly the spell scroll created with this feature cannot be given to anyone, making it essentially a bonus spell slot. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just way less powerful than it could be.
  • 14th level
    • One with the Word: Advantage on all Arcana checks is perfect for a wizard. Using the secondary effect, mitigating damage by temporarily sacrificing the ability to use certain spells, is really not good unless you have built your character to take advantage of this. The best way to go about this is to collect vast amounts of gp throughout your adventures and use it to copy new spells into your spellbook. The least useful spells can be “burnt” with this ability to avoid damage and you will hopefully still have your good spells to use as normal.

School of Abjuration

The School of Abjuration is a powerful and easy-to-use wizard subclass that focuses on the defensive aspect of spellcasting.

  • 2nd level
    • Arcane Ward: Bonus hit points of twice your Wizard level + INT modifier is no joke, especially early in a campaign.
  • 6th level
    • Projected Ward: Helping absorb damage for others improves the usefulness of the ward.
  • 10th level
    • Projected Ward: Helping absorb damage for others improves the usefulness of the ward.
  • 14th level
    • Spell Resistance: Advantage on saving throws against spells and resistance against magic is just amazing in the late game.

School of Conjuration

The School of Conjuration is all about summoning creatures and objects.

  • 2nd level
    • Minor Conjuration: You better hope your DM allows shenanigans with this one, as it is only as good as they allow it to be.
  • 6th level
    • Benign Transposition: Any form of teleportation is good, though Misty Step is far better since it is a Bonus Action.
  • 10th level
    • Focused Conjuration: No more pesky enemies breaking your conjuration concentration is huge, but ideally you wouldn’t get hit in the first place utilizing the wizard’s extensive defensive spells.
  • 14th level
    • Durable Summons: Not exciting but helps your summons be tankier later in a campaign by giving them 30 temporary hit points. At high levels this may let your summon live for an extra turn.

School of Divination

Wizards from the School of Divination can reveal things from the past, present, and future. While this may not sound particularly powerful when it comes to combat, the School of Divination is easily one of the best subclasses.

  • 2nd level
    • Portent: Portent is just busted. Saving rolls for the ideal moment can change outcomes drastically, and you can even replace your enemy’s dice roll. Use it and abuse it.
  • 6th level
    • Expert Divination: Casting more spells per day is always welcome. With Expert Divination, you can cast more divination spells, learning more about your situation, while also regaining spell slots.
  • 10th level
    • The Third Eye: There’s a lot packed into this one feature. If your race doesn’t have Darkvision, this is a great way to get it. You also won’t need a spell like see invisibility. Besides that, The Third Eye is pretty situational.
  • 14th level
    • Greater Portent: Portent is already so good, so why not make it better? At this point, Portent is one of the most powerful abilities in D&D 5e.

School of Enchantment

As the name implies, wizards in the School of Enchantment can enchant people and monsters to obey their commands.

  • 2nd level
    • Hypnotic Gaze: This feature can get you out of a sticky situation when you are far too close for comfort to an enemy that wants to smash your face in. Ideally, you would use this as a last resort since it only has a range of 5 feet, or to take the strongest enemy out of the fight for a round.
  • 6th level
    • Instinctive Charm: Redirect enemy attacks, but they need to be near another enemy and do a saving throw.
  • 10th level
    • Split Enchantment: Enchanting two creatures for the price of one literally doubles the effectiveness of single target enchantment spells.
  • 14th level
    • Alter Memories: This is only good if you like casting charm spells and is therefore very situational.

School of Evocation

School of Evocation wizards like to blast their enemies with big flashy elemental spells. If want a straightforward damage-dealing mage, this is the one for you.

  • 2nd level
    • Sculpt Spells: If you like casting big spells like fireball, something the School of Evocation is known for, this makes sure your allies won’t get singed.
  • 6th level
    • Potent Cantrip: Potent Cantrip improves cantrips that require saving throws since they will always at least do half damage. It’s a nice consolation prize since those saving throw cantrips often have secondary effects, though they won’t trigger on a failed save.
  • 10th level
    • Empowered Evocation: Adding your INT modifier to damage rolls of evocation spells makes them that much more devastating. This is especially good to power up cantrips or spells like magic missile where the damage would be added to each missile.
  • 14th level
    • Overchannel: Another great way to improve your low-level spells that would be outshone in high-level fights. Watch your hit points though.

School of Illusion

The School of Illusion focuses on deception through illusion magic. This subclass requires the most creativity to be effective, as well as a DM that sometimes lets you get away with silly ideas.

  • 2nd level
    • Improved Minor Illusion: If you’re creative you’ll get more utility out of your minor illusions by combining sound and image.
  • 6th level
    • Malleable Illusions: Again, you’re gonna have to be creative to get the most out of this ability.
  • 10th level
    • Illusory Self: “Get out of jail free card” once per short rest if you’re facing down an attack.
  • 14th level
    • Illusory Reality: Turn your dreams into reality. The sky’s the limit here.

School of Necromancy

The School of Necromancy is all about commanding undead creatures but doesn’t offer too much beyond that.

  • 2nd level
    • Grim Harvest: Yeah you can regain some hit points, but it doesn’t work with cantrips and you have to deal the killing blow on an enemy. You get more hit points back if the spell is from the School of Necromancy, but these aren’t typically among the best damage dealers.
  • 6th level
    • Undead Thralls: You get Animate Dead for free and your undead will be stronger. Perfect for a necromancer.
  • 10th level
    • Inured to Undeath: This ability could either save you multiple times in a campaign, or not come up even once. Hit point reduction can be a party killer so at least it’s some insurance against that.
  • 14th level
    • Command Undead: Very useful if your enemies are undead, but you will have a harder time if they are intelligent.

School of Transmutation

School of Transmutation Wizards can transform materials at will, manipulating matter into whatever they see fit. Unfortunately this school is relatively weak compared to other wizard subclasses and doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from a regular wizard.

  • 2nd level
    • Minor Alchemy: Changing a substance into another substance for 10 minutes is not a riveting prospect.
  • 6th level
    • Transmuter’s Stone: The ability to give yourself or a party member a variety of different buffs is the best ability in a Transmutation wizard’s arsenal.
  • 10th level
    • Shapechanger: You get polymorph for free and can use it without expending a spell slot, but it can only be cast on yourself and the creature must be a beast whose challenge rating is 1 or lower. This is a huge penalty to the spell and makes it nearly useless in most situations.
  • 14th level
    • Master Transmuter: Get instant value from your Transmuter’s Stone, but it can’t be reformed until after a long rest. This is risky and is pretty situational.

War Magic

War Magic wizards are great at keeping themselves in the fight and holding up powerful concentration spells as long as possible.

  • 2nd level
    • Arcane Deflection: Shield provides a better bonus to AC, but +4 to a saving throw, if you fail, can make all the difference in the world. Not being able to cast leveled spells for a turn isn’t the worst drawback, just make sure you have some good damage cantrips to fall back on.
    • Tactical Wit: Your wizard will likely max out their INT, meaning that you’ll get a huge boost to your initiative roll. Taking your turn before your enemies in a fight is very valuable as you can immediately use some crowd control to give your party an advantage.
  • 6th level
    • Power Surge: The idea behind this feature is really neat, though in practice it falls flat. You only gain power surge if you have dispel magic or counterspell and use them successfully. This means you need to be in an area with lots of magic or fighting spell casters for this to even come online. The extra damage from expending a power surge is very low considering the specific circumstances required to get one.
  • 10th level
    • Durable Magic: Some of the best spells require concentration, and most higher-level wizards want to constantly be concentrating on a spell when in combat. Durable Magic makes concentration spells so much better by drastically lowering the chance you will break your concentration.
  • 14th level
    • Deflecting Shroud: This may be lackluster for a final subclass feature, but it improves Arcane Deflection at no extra cost to you. The damage isn’t much, but at least force damage is rarely resisted.

3rd Level

Optional Rule: Cantrip Formulas: It’s great that wizards can finally replace their cantrips. Sometimes you pick a cantrip because it sounds cool only to discover you don’t need it at all. This completely negates that and is a perfect addition to the class.

18th Level

Spell Mastery: Spell Mastery makes the wizard really shine. Unlimited casts of useful utility spells can help you through any situation.

20th Level

Signature Spells: This is like an enhanced Spell Mastery, allowing you to prepare two extra spells each day.

Best Feats for Wizard

  • Alert: Being up higher in the initiative order can be very valuable for a wizard as it allows them to drop a big spell before the enemy has a chance to react.
  • Chef: Nothing about this class screams "I'm also a chef”. The Con bonus is nice, but overall you're going to want to skip this. There's no flavor here for spellcasters.
  • Crossbow Expert: Most wizards will skip this. School of Bladesinging can get away with this, though, if they want to get rid of the disadvantage on ranged attacks while in melee, but that’s about it.
  • Crusher: Absolutely not worth it, as they never want to be in melee range. This feat is for martial classes. Bladesingers can use bludgeoning weapons, which works well with booming blade, for some fun damage opportunities, but it isn’t an essential feat
  • Defensive Duelist: Like sorcerers, you have no reason to be in melee range, unless you are a Bladesinger. Shield is a much better spell than this feat.
  • Eldritch Adept: Great option to pick up Armor of Shadows for free mage armor whenever you want it. Kind of like a mini "Spell Mastery" with a limited spell list.
  • Elemental Adept: You can get away with this feat if you want to focus on a specific element. However, the damage boost isn’t that potent, so you’ll mainly want it to ignore resistances.
  • Elven Accuracy: Wizards have access to plenty of spell attacks but don't have any features to grant them advantage. I suggest picking some more relevant feats over this, like Magic Initiate.
  • Fey Touched: An amazing half-feat that allows you to pump your INT and get a free cast of misty step once per long rest. This feat provides solid value, even for a caster as potent as the wizard. For the 1st-level spell, there are quite a few powerful spells to add to your already spell list. Among the best would be blesscommand, and dissonant whispers.
  • Fighting Initiate: Only Bladesingers can acquire this feat, but it isn’t worth it as there are some feats that drastically boost the power of the subclass.
  • Great Weapon Master: Wizards can’t wield Martial weapons either and are far too squishy to be up close and personal.
  • Keen Mind: A small bonus to INT isn't enough to make up for the other useless parts of this feat.
  • Lucky: Lucky is a feat that is useful to any character but is slightly less powerful on spellcasters because they won't be making as many attack rolls. It is certainly a good resource to have for defensive purposes though.
  • Mage Slayer: Wizards are just too squishy for the frontlines. Bladesingers are a little beefier, but I would skip this feat in place of something with more flexibility.
  • Magic Initiate: All around a good option if you want to maximize spells known. Most of the cantrips are stellar, and the free utility is fantastic. Even doubling down on wizard allows you to learn a free new spell that you can cast as a normal spell with spell slots for better scaling.
  • Metamagic Adept: The sorcerer is an extremely powerful class partially due to the flexibility Metamagic provides. Combined with the extensive spell list available to wizards this feat opens the door to some strong combos. Subtle Spell will be your wizard's best friend when fighting spellcasters, Twinned Spell is good value for low-level spell slots, and Quickened Spell is there when you need to really put the hurt on.
  • Mobile: Most wizards shouldn’t even consider this. Bladesingers, however, will want to consider it for the combination with booming blade.
  • Mounted Combatant: Nothing here for a wizard.
  • Observant: A +1 to INT and +5 bonuses to passive Perception and Investigation make this a good feat for wizards.
  • Piercer: While you might gain access to the piercing spells, this feat is still a skip. The damage increase from this feat is minuscule when you can only cast one spell a turn.
  • Poisoner: Most wizards should skip this feat. They do get access to the most poison spells available, but none of the subclasses offer any synergy.
  • Polearm Master: Have no use for this feat. Even Bladesingers can’t use it.
  • Resilient: A wizard might consider using Resilient to gain proficiency in CON saving throws, but they will probably get more value out of War Caster.
  • Sentinel: Wizards don't want anything to do with melee combat so this feat provides no value. Even Bladesingers don't get a ton of value from this feat and would be better off with other feats that highlight their mobility.
  • Shadow Touched: If you aren’t looking to be a pure damage beast, this feat is terrific for wizards. Of course, they want free spells, but being able to upcast them is a massive boon for any wizard. Almost all wizards should be picking up this or Fey Touched, especially if they have an odd INT score.
  • Sharpshooter: Wizards gain nothing from this feat, as they don’t typically ever rely on ranged weapon damage.
  • Shield Master: Despite wanting more survivability, wizards don't get access to shield proficiencies making this feat unavailable.
  • Skill Expert: Like sorcerers, wizards don’t stand to benefit much from this feat and often use spells to overcome obstacles.
  • Skulker: Wizards won’t find anything useful out of this feat. They’re much better off spellcasting than wasting their turns hiding with ranged weapons.
  • Slasher: Wizards don’t want to be anywhere near this. Bladesingers might enjoy it, though, as it keeps them close to their enemies.
  • Spell Sniper: Increased range and ignoring cover on spell attacks can be helpful for those tricky battlefield situations.
  • Telekinetic: Some bonus INT, an extra/enhanced cantrip, and a really good use of your Bonus Action. Shoving a creature can save an ally or move an enemy into danger.
  • War Caster: Wizards are glass cannon spellcasters that don’t have any CON bonuses. War Caster will help when your squishy wizard inevitably gets attacked but isn’t a necessity. Bladesingers want to pick this up.

Best Spells for Wizard

Cantrip

  • Acid Splash: Can target multiple creatures.
  • Blade Ward: The only time this is worth it is if you know for a fact you're going to be taking bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing from a weapon in the next turn which isn't a common occurrence. Otherwise, if you find yourself in a tricky situation and need to mitigate damage for a turn, take the Dodge action.
  • Chill Touch: Good damage and a solid debuff for creatures that are able to heal themselves. This cantrip because extremely effective when fighting undead creatures.
  • Create Bonfire: Good damage and battlefield control.
  • Dancing Lights: Solid range and utility when you need to light a dark area. Has very similar effects to the light cantrip, so take your pick of whichever you prefer.
  • Fire Bolt: One of the better damage dealing cantrips. Good range and damage dice, fire is one of the most resisted damage types so be careful when casting at unknown enemies.
  • Friends: Give yourself advantage on CHA checks, but after a minute the target will become hostile. This certainly has its uses, like interrogation or doing a very quick deal with a shopkeeper. Otherwise, the cons outweigh the pros.
  • Frostbite: Frostbite has a very interesting secondary effect (giving disadvantage on target’s next attack). The problem is that it requires a CON save which many monsters are very good at. The School of Evocation’s Potent Cantrip feature could make this a bit more appealing.
  • Green-Flame Blade: Good option for martial spellcasters as long as the enemy their attacking has allies nearby. Scales relatively well with levels, but depending on the amount of extra attacks you get this may or may not be worth it. Definitely a good option for builds that have picked up War Caster.
  • Light: Useful, but there are plenty of ways around having to pick up this spell. As long as your not underwater, simple torch could save you a slot for another cantrip.
  • Mage Hand: Good utility. You can activate traps, grab small objects when you can't reach them, etc.
  • Mending: Being able to repair mundane object is situationally useful at the best of times, a waste of a cantrip at the worst.
  • Mind Sliver: INT saves aren’t common proficiencies and psychic damage isn’t a common resistance. Sure, the damage isn’t as appealing as something like firebolt, but the d4 reduction from the next saving throw is effective in lower tiers of play.
  • Minor Illusion: If used creatively, this cantrip can be the most flexible tool in a spellcaster arsenal.
  • Poison Spray: Bad range, a common save to avoid all damage, and a commonly resisted damage type. Pass.
  • Prestidigitation: Extremely versatile, even if the effects are small this cantrip can do a lot.
  • Ray of Frost: Solid damage cantrip. The speed reduction can help with kiting enemies.
  • Shocking Grasp: Advantage against metal armor and preventing reactions for a turn bundles damage and utility.
  • Sword Burst: Good AoE damage if you get surrounded.
  • Thunderclap: Good AoE damage but targets a common save and can’t be used while stealthing.
  • Toll the Dead: Good damage, rarely resisted damage type, and solid range. Obviously, it's best to use on an enemy that has already been damaged.
  • True Strike: Wasting a whole turn just to gain advantage on a single creature the next turn is not what you want to be doing.

1st level

  • Absorb Elements: One of the best defensive spells at this level, especially for protecting against elemental AoE effects.
  • Alarm: This spell is relatively useful whenever you're resting. What's better is it can be cast as a ritual. If you have Ritual Casting, this is never a bad pick.
  • Burning Hands: One of the better AoE damage spells you can get at 1st-level but there are better direct damage spells and better mass effect spells. This filler spell can be great if you catch a group of enemies close together.
  • Cause Fear: Frightened is a decent condition and it scales with levels. Keep in mind that creatures have to be within 30ft of one another when you upcast.
  • Charm Person: One of the better options for dealing with NPCs outside of combat. Good for quick interactions, but the biggest caveat to this spell is the target knows it was charmed by you once the effect ends.
  • Chromatic Orb: Your go-to damage spell. It has a costly material component that might be difficult to procure at early levels. The diamond isn't consumed when you cast your spell, so once you get it you can use this spell as often as you'd like.
  • Color Spray: On average, this can affect creatures with 10hp more than sleep. Imposing the Blinded condition with no opportunity to save is quite the debuff. Unfortunately, it only lasts until the end of your next turn as opposed to sleep's full minute. Most of the time, sleep will be the way to go, especially because it has a longer range.
  • Comprehend Languages: Been able to read and understand any language will have its uses at some point. Is it worth it to keep the spell stocked for your whole campaign? Probably not. Is it worth it to stock when you're heading into ancient ruins? Probably.
  • Detect Magic: Every party should roll with at least one character who has access to detect magic.
  • Disguise Self: Great 1st level infiltration spell.
  • Expeditious Retreat: This spell could come in handy for characters that value high movement and may have no real use for their bonus action, like a Bladesinger.
  • False Life: Temporary hit points are always useful, especially at very low levels where characters can be taken out in a single hit.
  • Feather Fall: It's a situational effect but you’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
  • Find Familiar: Familiars can do everything except actually attack. They can provide help actions in combat, steal things, scout for your party, and even be used to deliver touch spells on your behalf. Some DMs may not be amused.
  • Fog Cloud: Obscuring an area can be better than it sounds. While inside the fog cloud, creatures are effectively blinded so make sure you use the spell in a way that makes it advantageous.
  • Grease: Solid low-level getaway spell but it isn't particularly effective in combat because you can't choose which creatures are affected. This isn't even that useful as part of an ambush where you know an enemy will be coming into a room so you and your party line up with ranged weapons because if a creature falls prone you will have disadvantage on your ranged attack..
  • Ice Knife: Not great single target damage, not great AoE damage. Unless you need the 60ft range, burning hands would be a better spell to use because of the extra damage, better AoE, and damage on a successful save.
  • Identify: You can spend a short rest in physical contact with a magical item to identify it. In addition, most cursed items are not revealed to be cursed when this spell is cast. The main purpose this spell serves is to identify something quickly, which is rather situational.
  • Illusory Script: Much more of a DM, story-based spell than a player-focused one. Pick it up if you need to write a secret message that you can't relay telepathically using message or sending.
  • Jump: Tripling a creature's jump distance isn't usually worth a 1st level spell slot.
  • Longstrider: An extra 10 feet of movement is noticeable, especially since this spell lasts for an hour so you can use the buff before you find yourself in a battle or travel long distances in a short time.
  • Mage Armor: Because of its long duration and lack of concentration, this spell is a great solution to low AC issues early in a campaign, especially if you have some DEX.
  • Magic Missile: Your standard first-level damage dealer. This spell always hits which is nice. This spell is great if your targeting a spellcaster with the intention of making them drop concentration because they'll need to make a DC 10 CON check for each dart you send at them.
  • Protection from Evil and Good: You love to see this spell in any party, the buffs this can provide are extremely useful in any combat scenario. The creature types this affects are very common so this spell will likely be useful in your campaign.
  • Ray of Sickness: Damage isn’t great but Poisoned is a nasty condition. Unfortunately, the save targets CON, a common proficient saving throw, and immunity to the Poisoned condition is also fairly common. Don’t try to cast this at Constructs, Fiends, or Undead at the very least.
  • Shield: This is a great spell to have in your pocket when you're stuck in a sticky situation. Obviously, the most common use for this spell is to cast this spell when you get hit by an attack, and the +5 boost to your AC will cause the attack to miss. If you have a particularly low AC, you might find this spell sits on the sidelines more often than not at higher levels when enemies get higher attack bonuses.
  • Silent Image: This spell offers great utility for a 1st-level spell. Being able to move the image anywhere in 120ft and make it appear like it's moving makes it quite a bit more effective than minor illusion and will certainly help when you need to bamboozle an enemy (or watch some fantasy TV).
  • Silvery Barbs: Probably one of the more broken spells in 5th Edition. Silvery barbs allows you to automatically grant disadvantage to any creature when they succeed on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. This may seem innocent enough, but when used in higher-level play and when noted that there is no saving throw to resist the effect, it can make short work of a legendary monster's Legendary Resistances when saving against powerful spell effects. Essentially, silvery barbs acts like a second casting of a high-level spell, for the low price of a 1st-level spell slot and a reaction. Yes, using your reaction means you won't be able to counterspell. But in most circumstances, especially when fighting a non-caster legendary monster, it can begin to trivialize encounters. The secondary effect, wherein you grant another creature advantage on the next attack roll, ability check, or saving throw is simply icing on top of the extremely powerful cake.
  • Sleep: Sleep is a very good 1st level spell slot. It can easily end encounters at lower levels. By the time you reach 5th-level  it will be pretty useless unless you want a semi-consistent way of none lethal damage.
  • Snare: Way too many hoops to jump through and downsides to be worthwhile. If you manage to pull it off despite the long casting time and the terrible AoE, a trapped creature can easily find themselves in a bad situation. Having to make the escape saving throw at disadvantage will not be pretty.
  • Tasha’s Caustic Brew: Spells that don’t do damage until the start of the creature’s turn can end up as a wasted spell if they are dealt with before their turn starts.
  • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter: Poor man’s hold person. Still a great spell but the fact that they get to make saves after each time they take damage drastically reduces its effectiveness. If you can, save this for non-humanoids and use hold person on humanoids.
  • Tenser’s Floating Disk: Being able to carry 500lbs is typically out of the question for most player characters not being buffed by enlarge/reduce or something similar. Getting this ability for an hour at the cost of a 1st-level provides a lot of utility, especially if you need to carry treasure out of a dragon's horde.
  • Thunderwave: A fantastic, low-level way to knock opponents back if you find yourself in a sticky situation. Damage isn’t bad either but it targets CON saves.
  • Unseen Servant: Not really much more effective than a mage hand at the end of the day.
  • Witch Bolt: Underwhelming damage, requires your action and concentration, and can be thwarted by simply stepping out of range.

2nd level

  • Acid Arrow: Just use magic missile instead.
  • Aganazzar’s Scorcher: Decent AoE spell but is only better than other damage options when you can line up a bunch of enemies.
  • Alter Self: Decent utility when infiltrating hostile areas or needing to travel underwater. Unfortunately, disguise self is a 1st-level spell and usually better for infiltration and the combat part of this spell is pretty worthless.
  • Arcane Lock: Surprisingly, a useful little utility spell. The effect lasts until dispelled so it's a good thing to use on a home base when you have the spell slots to spare. Of course, the lock can be bypassed with knock but you'll be able to hear someone using knock while you're within 300ft. Overall, you don't want this stocked unless you're really paranoid or need to lock down an area.
  • Blindness/Deafness: Very effective debuff that doesn’t require concentration. The only downside is that it targets CON.
  • Blur: Pretty good evasive option. The higher your AC, the better this is.
  • Borrowed Knowledge: If your party is lacking a critically important skill, getting time limited proficiency can come in handy.
  • Cloud of Daggers: If you can get this into a chokepoint you can do amazing damage.
  • Continual Flame: Most of the time you can just cast light or use a torch as a light source and save yourself the 50 gp.
  • Crown of Madness: This spell has a lot of crippling limitations because of its powerful effect at such a low level.
  • Darkness: Good way to cut off an opponent's visibility. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer much of a strategic advantage unless someone in your party can see through magical darkness.
  • Darkvision: Essential if you or party members don’t have natural Darkvision and want to navigate without a torch. At a 2nd-level spell slot, the cost for this effect is quite steep.
  • Detect Thoughts: Useful spell for interrogations, or to determine if there are any hidden creatures near your location.
  • Dragon’s Breath: This spell can be quite effective with the proper setup and in a longer fight. First, you need an animal companion that has an action to use on its turn but no effective attack. The best option for this is a familiar conjured using the Find Familiar spell. Then, you can buff that creature to have a breath weapon that doesn’t use the “attack” action. As long as you maintain your concentration, this allows the familiar to dish out 3d6 damage each turn which is a solid use of a 2nd-level spell slot.
  • Dust Devil: Situationally useful if you need to lock off a certain area of the battlefield.
  • Earthbind: If you need to lock down a flying creature and don’t have a way of making it fall prone this is a good option. Useful in very narrow circumstances.
  • Enlarge/Reduce: A solid shenanigan spell that is really only limited by your imagination. This can do everything from enlarging your barbarian so they can grapple an adult dragon to shrinking a boulder so you can fly with it then drop it on an enemy's head.
  • Flaming Sphere: Not the best damage, but AoE and the ability to move the sphere as a bonus action are useful if up against a horde of weak enemies.
  • Gentle Repose: Extremely situational spell.
  • Gust of Wind: This spell is usually useless unless you find yourself in a rare situation where you can use it to push multiple enemies off of a cliff.
  • Hold Person: This can be encounter-breaking against humanoids. Scales well with levels.
  • Invisibility: Great infiltration spell.
  • Knock: Great spell if you don’t have a rogue around and works better than Thieves’ Tools anyway since it works automatically. If you need to be stealthy, keep in mind that this spell is audible from 300 feet away.
  • Levitate: Can be used to get up high, or completely remove a melee attacker from combat. Levitate can be good at any level.
  • Locate Object: 1,000 feet isn't a particularly wide radius but this spell will be extremely useful when it's needed. Great for city campaigns where everything is packed in tighter together.
  • Magic Mouth: Useful if you want to Mission Impossible-style deliver a message when someone opens an envelope or something. Otherwise, message and sending make this obsolete.
  • Magic Weapon: Making your weapon magical is necessary against some enemy types and the +1 to attack and damage rolls is nice. Concentration hurts if you're going to be using this then charging into the fray. Good option when you party is lacking magic weapons, but can be dropped once you get into higher levels.
  • Melf’s Acid Arrow: If you compare this with magic missile, this spell is just not worth it for a 2nd-level spell slot. A 2nd-level magic missile will do guaranteed 4d4 + 4 which is the same damage that melf’s acid arrow does after a successful attack roll and a full turn. Magic missile also has a better range, is better for targetting casters who are concentrating, and a less resisted damage type. Pass this spell all day long.
  • Mirror Image: Great way to avoid damage with a low level spell slot. Plus, it doesn't require concentration. Overall a solid option.
  • Misty Step: Misty step is the staple movement spell for those classes lucky enough to have access to it. It can be cast as a bonus action and avoids opportunity attacks.
  • Nystul’s Magic Aura: This spell is situational and definitely more of a DM-focused spell. But ,with some creativity and a DM who plays into your shenanigans it could be useful in some circumstances.
  • Phantasmal Force: There are extreme situations where this could be useful, but it is simply not a good spell.
  • Pyrotechnics: Limited because it needs a nonmagical flame to be able to work. Can be comboed with bonfire.
  • Ray of Enfeeblement: Concentration, 1 minute duration, only affects STR weapon attacks, and CON saves for the enemy to escape. Most STR-based enemies you target with this spell will have great CON saves, which makes this a very clunky spell.
  • Rope Trick: This is an extremely cheese-able spell that allows you to pop out of your extra-dimensional space, take a shot at a creature, then pop back in. I guarantee if you start abusing this spell, your DM will find some evil ways to punish you. Past cheesing combat, there are a lot of shenanigans you can pull with this spell. Especially because it doesn't require concentration.
  • Scorching Ray: A potential 6d6 focused damage at a 2nd-level spell slot, can target multiple opponents, and has crit potential.
  • See Invisibility: If you know you're going to be coming across invisible creatures, this spell is worth it to stock. Otherwise, faerie fire is a better option as it allows party members to see the invisible creatures as well.
  • Shadow Blade: Typical wizards don’t want any part of melee combat, but this is an amazing option if you are going for a Bladesinger.
  • Shatter: Decent AoE that can be super effective against specific creatures. Also good for destroying inanimate objects.
  • Spider Climb: A useful movement option if you want to get away from a combatant or sneak into a hostile area. Seeing as your hands are free, you're still able to attack and cast spells while climbing. Will also allow you to live out your Spider-Man fantasy.
  • Suggestion: Never underestimate the power of suggesting a course of action to an NPC. Yes, Mr. Scary Guard, why don’t you give us the keys to your king’s treasure vault?
  • Tasha’s Mind Whip: Mediocre damage, but it can help you break away from a pursuing enemy while still doing damage.
  • Warding Wind: Pretty much the only time this is useful is when you’re caught in a combat situation where you are surrounded by ranged enemies or if you need to keep out a deadly gas.
  • Web: For when you want to get creative. Web is a great way to take away an enemy’s turn and deal some extra damage at the same time.

3rd level

  • Animate Dead: More options for your bonus action and another body between you and the baddies. For necromancers that are looking to guide a horde of undead, this is the best option you're provided. Essentially, you can use a 3rd-level spell slot to animate one undead, or reassert your control over four undead. Depending on how many spell slots you have to work with, you can steadily grow your undead army. Just make sure you have the spell slots to reassert your control or your undead horde will revolt.
  • Bestow Curse: If you can get within touch range, this can be an extremely powerful debuff for a single, tough enemy. The effect that causes the enemy to make a WIS save or waste their turn is extremely powerful and is made more powerful because they only get one chance to save, at the initial casting of the spell.
  • Blink: 50% chance of completely avoiding any damage for a turn is more consistent over a long period than mirror image and better for builds with lower ACs than blur. Plus, it isn't concentration.
  • Clairvoyance: Not many situations will call for this spell but it can be useful for scouting.
  • Counterspell: Always get counterspell. Even if you don’t want to pick it up as soon as it is available to you, come back and get it at a later level. It can literally save lives when facing a powerful spell caster.
  • Dispel Magic: Always make sure at least one of your party members has this.
  • Enemies Abound: Enemies abound only works in fights with more than one enemy, if your allies are willing to ignore that enemy, and if the enemy isn’t immune to being frightened. Really only useful for causing a stir from a hidden position.
  • Erupting Earth: Mediocre damage compared to Fireball but causes difficult terrain. Situational.
  • Fear: Amazing crowd control spell. Particularly good because they don’t get to retry the save until they break line of sight.
  • Feign Death: Extremely niche. Could be useful if you are attempting to recreate Romeo and Juliet.
  • Fireball: The gold standard for damage spells in 5e. This spell was intentionally designed to be overpowered for a 3rd-level slot, making it the most optimal choice when looking to lay the hurt down.
  • Flame Arrows: The 1 hour duration allows this to be cast before initiative so that you don’t waste an action on this. If you are really set on adding 1d6 to your ranged attacks, consider taking a feat that will allow you to pick up hex or hunter’s mark instead.
  • Fly: Extremely useful movement option. Being able to fly opens up a whole new world and can overcome many obstacles. Be cautious about the concentration component when flying to lofty heights.
  • Gaseous Form: This spell can honestly vie for the top “infiltration” spell over invisibility. Being able to fly and move through tiny cracks as an inconspicuous cloud can make getting into any heavily defended fortress a cinch.
  • Glyph of Warding: Costly components and a long casting time are the major hurdles in the way of making glyph of warding a stellar spell. As it stands, its probably the best way to set a trap if you know where the enemy will be coming through and have at least an hour to prepare.
  • Haste: Lovely buff for non-caster party members, just make sure you don’t immediately have your concentration broken and waste a 3rd level spell and your party member's next turn.
  • Hypnotic Pattern: Good range, good AoE, and its effect are potent. Incapacitating multiple enemies is a fantastic tactic to passively flee from the situation or do massive damage with automatic crits. The effect can be ended by a friendly creature taking an action to wake the affected creature from its stupor, but that will eat up a lot of action economy. Either way you slice it, hypnotic pattern is one of the best crowd control spells at this level.
  • Intellect Fortress: Only useful in very specific circumstances. Say, for example, when wandering into a den of Mind Flayers.
  • Leomund ’s Tiny Hut: This spell is both better than it looks at first glance and worse than it looks on a second glance. Being able to long rest uninterrupted or use it as cover anywhere you want is really useful. However, if you abuse it your DM will make you pay, like setting up an ambush just outside the dome. Even still, this spell is a fan favorite
  • Lightning Bolt: Does as much damage as fireball but has a less effective AoE because it’s a line rather than a circle.
  • Magic Circle: While celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead are quite common, this spell provides a very lackluster effect against them. As the creatures can still attack inside the cylinder and can still teleport out using a CHA save, it's not very effective at containing, nor protecting from, these creatures.
  • Major Image: Much like silent imagemajor image is really only limited by your imagination. A 20ft cube is quite the space to play around in and fit just about any creature (within reason).
  • Melf’s Minute Meteors: Not as good as Flaming Sphere (which is a 2nd-level spell).
  • Nondetection: Your campaign will really cater to this spell for it to have any kind of application. This is much more of a DM-focused spell, players often won’t find a use for this once in an entire campaign.
  • Phantom Steed: Situational. If you need to do any serious traveling, this spell means you won’t need to buy a horse but only lasts for one hour.
  • Protection from Energy: This is typically outshined by absorb elements except in the specific circumstances when you are constantly being subjected to a type of damage.
  • Remove Curse: Cursed items can be absolutely brutal. This is an excellent way to make sure your party member isn't possessed by a demon after the put on a locket they found in a haunted house.
  • Sending: Solid communication spell for at least one party member to have.
  • Sleet Storm: Messes with enemy concentration, can extinguish flames, and has the potential to knock enemies prone.
  • Spirit Shroud: Most spellcasters can skip this, but if you're a martial spellcaster that attacks multiple times a turn, this is definitely worth it.
  • Stinking Cloud: Used in the right circumstances, like locking enemies in a room then casting this into the locked room or when an enemy has to funnel through a "choke" point (heh). Outside of these specific situations, it's quite mediocre.
  • Summon Fey: Easily one of the best Summon options from TCoE. Teleportation every round accompanied with advantage on at least one attack per round and decent damage. This one is actually worth upcasting in certain circumstances.
  • Summon Shadowspawn: The Shadowspawn gets a 1/day ability that is pretty much the same as the Fear spell. This means that if you’re going to use that spell, this nets an extra body that gets advantage on attacks against Frightened creatures out of the deal.
  • Summon Undead: Doesn’t put out as much damage as the summon fey options but is more versatile in combat. The Putrid form is effective for hoards, the Skeletal form is a good ranged option, and the Ghastly option is good for infiltration.
  • Thunder Step: Great spell in case you are surrounded and need to retreat. You get to damage the enemies and carry a friend with you.
  • Tidal Wave: Mediocre damage but can impose the Prone condition. Useful in the right circumstances, like if your enemies have formed battlelines and are charging at you.
  • Tiny Servant: In a way similar to find familiar, the servant can be used to scout or to stand guard for you. Unfortunately, it's not quite as useful and requires a 3rd-level spell slot to produce.
  • Tongues: Most of the time, it will be tough to justify a 3rd-level spell for the effect this produces. Of course, understanding a creature and allowing it to understand you could have the potential to stop a terrible situation unfolding. This is a spell that would be worthwhile to prepare for specific situations, but is too niche to consider stocking all the time.
  • Vampiric Touch: Gives you a 3d6 melee weapon with life drain as long as you can concentrate but those concentration checks are going to kill you. You essentially need War Caster to make this worth it.
  • Water Breathing: This is almost required for enabling underwater traversal, which may or may not happen a lot in a campaign.

4th level

  • Arcane Eye: A great scouting tool and can be moved as an action, making it a worthy spell to pickup.
  • Banishment: Get rid of creatures from another plane, or take out a big threat for most of the combat. One of the better save or suck spells out there. Keep in mind that, unless the creature is natively from another plane, they will return after the spell ends.
  • Blight: 4th-level single-target spell that targets a common save. It barely out damages 4th-level fireball and flat-out doesn’t work on some common creature types. SKIP.
  • Charm Monster: Charm person, just for any creature. Great for avoiding fights with potentially hostile monsters.
  • Confusion: Bestow curse is a better targeted debuff and is a full spell slot lower.
  • Conjure Minor Elementals: You can summon the same CR creatures as conjure animals for a spell slot higher, but elementals usually have interesting effects that can be helpful in specific situations. Like conjure animals, your DM gets final say on the summoned creature, but if you make a reasonable request and have a reasonable DM this is a great tool to improve the action economy for your party.
  • Control Water: A very effective spell, but only if you’re around water.
  • Dimension Door: Teleport, with a friend, over a much longer distance than misty step. Unfortunately, it’s two spell slots higher than misty step and a full action to cast. Still, this spell can save your bacon is a tight circumstance.
  • Elemental Bane: If you need to remove a resistance to a certain damage type, get the Elemental Adept feat so you don’t have to waste a turn and 4th-level spell whenever you run into a creature that has a resistance to your damage type.
  • Evard’s Black Tentacles: Crowd control that grants the Restrained condition and continuous damage depending on if you can keep enemies in the area.
  • Fabricate: Fabricate scales in its usefulness depending on your creativity, but it is hampered by quite a few restrictions which are clearly in place for game balance reasons.
  • Fire Shield: Fire shield is a decent buff for martial casters but casters that prefer to maintain a distance likely won't find much use for it. The fact that it provides resistances to two different damage types can make it especially potent for builds looking to tank for their party.
  • Greater Invisibility: Being able to attack or cast spells while invisible is a huge upgrade from regular invisibility. Give it to a melee party member and watch them get advantage on every attack and disadvantage on attacks against them, bonus points if it’s a paladin or rogue for extra crit + Divine Smite / Sneak Attack potential.
  • Hallucinatory Terrain: This is more of a DM-spell than a player-focused on. Particularly creative players will be able to find a use, but most of the time this is unnecessary.
  • Ice Storm: You already have fireball, and ice storm does less damage, and the terrain control doesn’t make the reduced damage worth it.
  • Leomund’s Secret Chest: Hide stuff in the ethereal plane. Very, VERY situational.
  • Locate Creature: More thorough than locate animals or plants, and can be used to find people. It’s still pretty situational.
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound: Seeing as the hound can only attack creatures within 5ft of it and can't move, it is very situational.
  • Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum: If you're resting in a hostile area or are being tracked by enemies capable of using divination magic to track you, this could be a worthwhile spell to cast. At 4th-level, it's certainly resource-intensive but sometimes a peaceful night's sleep is worth it.
  • Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere: DEX-based save or suck. Great way to take a baddy out of the fight while you finish off its friends.
  • Phantasmal Killer: Turn-after-turn psychic damage and the Frightened condition may seem like a solid effect, but seeing as this is a single target spell and costs a 4th-level spell slot and concentration it's just not worth it most of the time.
  • Polymorph: The best save or suck spell at this level. The hour duration makes transforming a hostile creature and running away a viable option or will give you more time to finish of its friends before it transforms back. This also allows you to shape-shift a friendly party member into a beast for combat or exploration purposes. The sheer utility this spell offers makes it an incredibly effective spell to keep in your arsenal.
  • Sickening Radiance: Giving creatures levels of exhaustion seems good on paper but you need at least two failures for this spell to really kick in. Radiance damage is great for getting around a resistance but this spell also targets CON (common save for monsters) and requires concentration.
  • Stone Shape: Can be used to deal damage if you get creative, or circumvent annoying parts of caves and dungeons since they are usually made of stone.
  • Stoneskin: Effectively double your or your favorite melee fighter’s hit points. Better at lower levels or when fighting enemies without magical attacks. If you'll be casting this on yourself, make sure you have a decent CON modifier and consider taking the Resilient (CON) feat if you don't have proficiency in CON saving throws or the War Caster feat for advantage on concentration checks.
  • Storm Sphere: Simply an amazing spell. 20ft radius that hits like a greatsword and a bonus action to deal 4d6 every turn.
  • Summon Aberration: Great summon option with a good amount of versatility. The Beholderkin provides flight and ranged attacks, Slaad can tank and has decent melee damage, and Star Spawn provides psychic damage and AoE.
  • Summon Construct: All of the options are fairly tanky but the Heated Body option is definitely the best feature.
  • Summon Elemental: Tankier than the fey summon because of the damage resistances but does less damage. Still a great option, just depends on what you're looking for.
  • Summon Greater Demon: The notion that you can lose control of the demon makes this spell a massive gamble.
  • Vitriolic Sphere: Worse damage than fireball on a successful save and better any more damage on a failed save. Targets the same save and effects the same radius. The only real change is that it's a full spell slot higher than fireball.
  • Wall of Fire: Amazing battlefield control option to divide enemies and deal massive damage.
  • Watery Sphere: Restrain and move around up to four enemies. You can even send them over a cliff to remove them from combat, it won’t kill the creatures in the sphere because they descend at a slow rate.

5th level

  • Animate Objects: Turn your trash into treasure. Send an army of pebbles at your opponents for 1d4 + 4 damage with +8 attacks.
  • Bigby’s Hand: Bigby’s hand truly does it all. It can do turn after turn damage, help you escape dangerous situations, hold down a baddy, and allow you to fly all while increasing your action economy because it only uses a bonus action to command.
  • Black Tentacles: The potential for damage over time and restraining the target makes this spell pretty great. They have to burn their action to attempt to leave the restraints as well.
  • Cloudkill: Not great in an open field but if you can get the drop on an enemy or contain a group of enemies within the spell it can be very effective because it deals damage turn after turn, as long as the caster keeps concentration. It can also be effective to block off a vantage point used by ranged enemies.
  • Cone of Cold: Not quite as potent as fireball or lightning bolt for the resource of a 5th-level spell slot and it targets CON saves which are a common proficiency in monsters.
  • Conjure Elemental: Great spell for a powerful ally. Careful about losing concentration or you could end causing more trouble than you’re solving.
  • Contact Other Plane: This powerful effect is tarnished by the huge downside associated with failing the save. Seeing as no WIS-based casters can access to this spell, even a DC 15 save is a gamble to pass. Unless you have a cleric standing by with a greater restoration this spell is too risky to cast.
  • Creation: Allows you to make a rope, or a rock. Yeah.
  • Danse Macabre: Situationally useful because you need five Small or Medium corpses. If you already carry them around with you, this is great for action economy.
  • Dominate Person: Amazing spell when fighting humanoids. Taking over the mind of an enemy can completely swing the direction of the encounter. While spells like hold person can take an enemy of the fight, dominate person can make that enemy into an ally essentially creating a two for one. If you are fighting against humanoids a lot in the late game, this is a simply outstanding spell.
  • Dream: While it may not look like much, dream is an insanely powerful spell. First of all, it can target a creature no matter how far away they are, as long as you know the creature and the creature has to sleep. Second, you're able to stay in that creature's dream for up to 8 hours, which can allow a ton of time to communicate with the creature for long periods without being attacked. Last, and most importantly, you can negate the effects of a long rest AND do damage. This might not be an issue for a high level enemy with legendary resistances, but can definitely cause issues for less powerful foes. This spell is definitely a slow burn type of spell but can have massive ramifications in the long run.
  • Enervation: What happens when you cross witch bolt with vampiric touch and make them actually good? The increased range is a huge upgrade and being able to damage creatures while healing yourself is twice the value.
  • Far Step: Typically a single misty step will work best for spellcasters who won’t be using this ability on each turn to teleport around the battlefield, using their movement to close in and attack creatures teleporting out of danger.
  • Geas: Not for use in combat but has extremely potent effects if you can cast it. The max damage this can do is 5d10 a day, so it's best used on a particularly influential commoner.
  • Hold Monster: Spell that can take a creature out of the fight. Allows for a save after each turn which makes it worse than banishment for consistently keeping a monster out of the fight, but the monster can be attacked with advantage which will make quick work of it after it fails a save or two.
  • Immolation: Single target fireball that can damage consistently. The issue comes from the need for concentration and the saving throws the creature gets every turn. If you want fireball damage, cast fireball. If you want consistent fire damage cast heat metal.
  • Legend Lore: Gain some knowledge on things of legendary importance. While cool, it doesn’t do much most of the time.
  • Mislead: Pretty decent scouting spell or opportunity to plan an ambush. Pretty high spell slot for the meager effect though.
  • Modify Memory: A relatively powerful spell for infiltration and social encounters. There are a lot of caveats imposed on this spell, mainly to ensure it doesn't become too broken. If you'll be heading into an enemy fortress or to a rival's political meeting, this is a good spell to stock.
  • Negative Energy Flood: Nothing can turn the tide on a battle more than turning the enemy’s lackies into your own. If you’re battling a horde of weaker creatures, this is an amazing spell. Otherwise, the damage isn't great and it only targets on creature.
  • Passwall: Never be stonewalled by a locked door again (unless your DM specifically makes all walls 21ft thick to mess with you).
  • Planar Binding: The 1 hour casting time makes this a fairly hard spell to pull off. If you manage to pull it off, this can be an extremely powerful spell when combined with summon greater demon or something of the like.
  • Rary’s Telepathic Bond: This can be helpful when the party gets into a tricky circumstance and needs to be able to discuss amongst themselves without “table talking”.
  • Scrying: Useful but niche.
  • Seeming: Neat out of combat spell.
  • Skill Empowerment: This spell is very flexible since you can give any creature Expertise in any skill. It is quite expensive at 5th level and it works best when the creature needs to use the same skill multiple times.
  • Synaptic Static: Fireball damage and a debuff rolled into one. Be careful using it on beasts as they are likely to have an INT 2 or less.
  • Telekinesis: This is a great spell to have perpetually stocked. Toss enemies around the battlefield or crush your enemies with a giant rock.
  • Telepathic Bond: Allows your party to communicate when they normally wouldn’t be able to.
  • Teleportation Circle: Great teleport spell that requires some prep before it can become really effective. That said, it's nice to not have the ability to fail during your teleport like is possible with teleport. Awesome utility spell to have in your back pocket.
  • Transmute Rock: If you can catch a bunch of creatures on rock, this spell can be used to nearly incapacitate them. Situationally very useful.
  • Wall of Force: You’re just making a wall. So what? You can split up opposing forces, hide behind an impenetrable wall, or make a dome over your party. It is immune to dispel magic but can be disintegrated.
  • Wall of Light: Radiant is a great damage type, but 4d8 on a 5th level spell isn’t amazing. The Blinded condition is nice, but is only activated when the spell first appears and doesn’t discriminate between friend and foe. The lasers that you can shoot each following turn use your action, shrink the wall, and provide some solid turn-over-turn damage.
  • Wall of Stone: Great tool to manipulate the battlefield to your party’s advantage.

6th level

  • Arcane Gate: Allows you to open a portal between two locations that you can see. Fairly similar effect to dimension door except as many creatures as you like can move through the portal in a 10 minute time span. Useful for getting more than one companion out of dodge, but it's quite a high spell slot for the effect.
  • Chain Lightning: Great damage and solid control over targets. If you need to do damage to multiple enemies but have friendlies in your fireball radius, this is a good option.
  • Circle of Death: Fireball type effect, but has a much wider radius. Necrotic damage, isn't enough to make this 6th level spell worth it, especially because it targets a CON save.
  • Contingency: This is an interesting one. Instead of casting a spell, you can save that spell to be automatically cast when certain criteria have been met, lasting up to ten days.
  • Create Undead: You can create stronger undead than with animate dead but main downside is the higher spell slot required. Create undead isn't usually worth it when creating a troop of undead servants to follow you around, because it will require too many spell slots to maintain.
  • Disintegrate: Live out your power fantasy as Thanos. The damage can be great, but a successful save negates ALL damage. Definitely a gamble that has huge payoff.
  • Drawmij ’s Instant Summons: Being able to summon a less-than-10-pound, less-than-6-foot item that you've previously had in your possession to you at the expense of a 1,000 gp sapphire and a 6th-level spell is not a particularly powerful effect. Especially because it takes a full minute to cast, so it's not like you could cast it discreetly when handling something you're looking to steal.
  • Eyebite: Clunky spell with powerful effects. Essentially, as long as you maintain concentration, you can use your action to imbue a powerful debuff. Unfortunately, casting something like fear or hypnotic pattern will likely allow you to impose conditions on more enemies, for less action economy, for a lower spell slot.
  • Flesh to Stone: This is a relatively low-level way to permanently take a baddie out of the fight. Can be especially useful if the villains of your campaign have a way to bring their minions back from the dead. Of course, the target needs to fail four CON saves to be petrified but that could be feasible if you have some way to make them roll their checks with disadvantage. All in all, this is a moderately effective debuff that has a lot of potential for upsides.
  • Globe of Invulnerability: Block all spells 5th level and lower in a 10-foot radius around your spellcaster. This spell can get really helpful as you start to face more enemies casting spells.
  • Guards and Wards: This spell's literal only use is to create your very own haunted house. Yeah, it'd be fun to use if your stronghold was being invaded and you had at least 10 minutes to prepare. Otherwise, this is certainly more of a DM-focused spell.
  • Investiture of Flame: Damage immunities and resistances are fine but the passive effect has terrible range and the AoE effect is mediocre damage. The biggest issue here is that, if you are using the fire immunity it’s very likely that your enemies are immune to fire damage. Also, requires concentration so you can cast the spell, and lose it before you’re able to use the AoE feature.
  • Investiture of Ice: Damage immunities and resistances are fine but the passive effect has terrible range and is even less effective than the IoF and the AoE effect is mediocre damage. The biggest issue here is that, if you are using the ice immunity it’s very likely that your enemies are immune to ice damage. Also, requires concentration so you can cast the spell, and lose it before you’re able to use the AoE feature.
  • Investiture of Stone: The resistance to bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing are pretty useless in Tier 3 because most creatures will have magical weapons. The passive effect allows you to move through the earth but ejects you if you end your turn there so you can’t travel far distances. The action effect is terrible, it doesn’t even do damage. Also, requires concentration so you can cast the spell, and lose it before you’re able to use any features.
  • Investiture of Wind: One of the better Investitures, but it’s really only effective as a defensive buff. The flight is a great movement buff, and ranged attacks have disadvantage. The action can’t even compete with cantrip damage at this point.
  • Magic Jar: An extremely interesting spell that allows you to possess another humanoid's body and trap its soul within a container. Unfortunately, you can't trap the creature's soul then move back to your own body, you have to move from the possessed body back to the jar. All in all, there don't seem to be a ton of situations in which this spell is worth casting, seeing as you don't even get to take on the new body's class features. Unless you really want to trade bodies with people, there isn't a whole lot of point to this spell.
  • Mass Suggestion: Amazing charm effect. No saving throws, target up to twelve creatures, and a duration of 24 hours.
  • Mental Prison: There are plenty of ways to take single creatures out of the fight, but this provides a way to do some damage while also locking down a creature. Nothing crazy for a 6th-level spell but it’s decent.
  • Move Earth: Not very helpful unless you're trying to live out a Minecraft fantasy.
  • Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere: This is an insanely cool (heh) spell that has tons of versatility. Not only can it output damage equal to a 6th-level fireball, but you can use it to trap swimming creatures if you catch them in water. The coolest part about this spell is that you can cast it and hand it to it another creature, who can then throw it to active the spell's effects. If you're able to prepare this ahead of a combat encounter, it could be extremely deadly. Keep in mind that it only lasts for 1 minute before it shatters, so you better work quickly!
  • Otto’s Irresistible Dance: At the surface, Otto’s irresistible dance may look unappealing because Tasha’s hideous laughter can be seen as a substitution at a 1st-level spell slot. Well, the biggest thing that makes Otto’s worthy of a 6th-level slot is that there is no save, the effect just happens. This allows a whole round of attacks with advantage against a single powerful enemy, while the enemy has to spend its entire action (maybe even using a Legendary Resistance) saving from the spell. In many scenarios, Tasha’s will be what you want to use, but if you are facing off against a dragon, you’ll want Otto’s.
  • Programmed Illusion: Another situation where this spell is limited by your creativity but similar effects can be achieved with major illusion for a lower spell slot.
  • Scatter: It has uses, but none that are particularly worth a 6th-level spell.
  • Soul Cage: The best option here is definitely healing 2d8 as a bonus action 6 times, but the other options can be useful (depending on whose soul you suck up).
  • Summon Fiend: Unfortunately, you can’t cast darkness in conjunction with summon fiend in order to take advantage of the Devil’s ability to see in magical darkness. Otherwise, the Fiend’s magical resistance helps make this an especially tanky summon.
  • Sunbeam: Not a bad spell for those grindy fights. Blinding opponents, repositioning the beam on each turn, disadvantage for undead make this a solid choice.
  • Tasha’s Otherworldly Guise: Bonus action to gain +2 to AC, damage immunities, and flight make this a solid defensive spell. Even though the spell grants the ability to make attacks with spellcasting modifier and allows you to attack twice, you will rarely use these features as a unless your a martial spellcaster.
  • True Seeing: Gain the abilities of truesight, spotting secret doors, and seeing into the ethereal plane, all without concentration. This will be effective at some point but a 6th level spell is steep.
  • Wall of Ice: A stellar battlefield control option that combines the utility of wall of stone with the damage of wall of fire. Definitely a worthwhile pickup.

7th level

  • Crown of Stars: Great bonus action damage, long duration, no concentration. Up and down a great spell.
  • Delayed Blast Fireball: Seeing as you can end concentration at any time this is essentially a 7th-level fireball with upsides. If you're able to time enemies entering the radius exactly 1 minute after you cast it, the resulting damage would be massive for a 7th-level spell. Most of the time, you'll be detonating this with a d6 or two extra damage.
  • Dream of the Blue Veil: This spell has more campaign-derailing, shenanigan potential than just about any other spell short of wish. Do your DM a favor and let them know your plans before casting this spell. Because this is more of a plot-based spell, it will not receive a rating.
  • Etherealness: This spell allows you to fly or move through solid objects, while not being affected or able to affect creatures not on the Ethereal Plane. You can only target yourself but there is no concentration. Pretty middle of the road all around.
  • Finger of Death: It’s a CON save, but they still take half damage on a success. If you want some huge single target damage, it’s not a bad pick.
  • Forcecage: No save and no way to get out once you get put in. This spell is a great way to contain a scary melee creature.
  • Mirage Arcane: The sheer scope of this spell is insane and is truly only limited by the imagination of the caster.
  • Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion: Love the flavor but a 7th level spell slot is a stretch for this limited effect.
  • Mordenkainen’s Sword: Terrible amount of damage for a 7th level spell.
  • Plane Shift: Good utility to run away from a fight that has turned south, or force a CHA save to avoid getting banished.
  • Power Word Pain: As long as the target has less than 100hp, they don't get to make a save to resist the effect. This makes it a decent choice when targeting a creature with Legendary Resistance. The debuff is quite potent, it provides disadvantage on attacks, ability checks, and saving throws, and casting spells becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, the effect can be ended with a successful CON saving throw so there's a good chance the effect only lasts one round. For a 7th-level spell, this is rarely worth it.
  • Prismatic Spray: Only 10d6 damage on a failed save, and the damage type is random. This spell just isn’t reliable enough to be worth it.
  • Project Image: Can be used to distract enemies or as a pretty bad scouting tool. You or your party members should have better ways to do this by now.
  • Reverse Gravity: Super cool and effective. The only way a creature can avoid the effect is by succeeding on a DEX saving throw, but even then they only grab onto a fixed object to avoid falling up. Besides flying creatures, most will have a tough time escaping this.
  • Sequester: There just aren’t many practical uses for this spell outside of a plot device.
  • Simulacrum: This spell is great. Make a copy of yourself to get extra counterspells, or make a copy of a captured monster
  • Symbol: Can be useful if you're setting a trap or protecting an area from enemies. Can be used in a pinch because of the 1 minute casting time. Unfortunately, it's quite expensive due to the 1,000 gp worth of powdered diamond or opal. This spell is certainly more DM-focused than player-focused.
  • Teleport: Instantly transport yourself and up to eight willing creatures. Of course, there is a chance of a mishap, but a full party teleport is nothing to scoff at.
  • Whirlwind: Huge range, good AoE, and a very potent battlefield control effect. If you can catch multiple enemies in this, you can get really good turn-over-turn damage as well as an Restrained effect.

8th level

  • Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting: Essentially just an upcast fireball. Don’t bother unless you fight a lot of plants.
  • Antimagic Field: You want to be able to cast spells as a spellcaster, and this spell prevents that. Maybe there is some powerful magic around you that you want to stop, but you’re better off tackling that problem with a spell of your own and taking another 8th level spell instead.
  • Antipathy/Sympathy: Attract or repel creatures that you choose. Force melee creatures away from you or ranged creatures towards your melee allies. It also lasts for ten days, which is very long.
  • Clone: Voldemort, basically. If you die, your soul is transferred to the clone, as long as the vessel it is in is undisturbed. You don’t get your equipment back unless you are able to retrieve it, however.
  • Control Weather: This is one of those spells that could have massive repercussions outside of combat. Its effect is extremely powerful though its uses may not be.
  • Demiplane: Good utility spell, if you have a strong buddy or good charm spells you can create your own demi-prison system.
  • Dominate Monster: Extremely good option to help swing the tides of battle in your favor. If you manage to dominate one of your enemies, you're 2-for-1ing the opponent by adding an ally to your side while subtracting an enemy from your enemy's side.
  • Feeblemind: Encounter ending debuff if you hit a spellcaster with it. Usually, spellcasters at this level will have a very strong INT save or Legendary Resistance.
  • Illusory Dragon: This spell can absolutely decimate a large battle, sending enemies running and doing a fair amount of area of effect damage.
  • Incendiary Cloud: One of the best options for a choke point. This is insane damage if you can get a crowd to run through it.
  • Maddening Darkness: Huge radius and good damage. The biggest issue here is that your party members won’t be able to see anything happening in the radius.
  • Maze: Banish a creature with no saving throw for up to ten minutes. Maze is really strong because to return, it must pass a DC 20 INT check as an action. The only caveat is that it is a concentration spell.
  • Mind Blank: A full 24 hours of immunity to psychic damage, reading thoughts, divination spells, and being charmed. Mind Blank is surprisingly effective during high-level encounters as a defensive spell.
  • Power Word Stun: You can auto-stun a creature that has less than 150hp, but they get to make a save at the end of each of their turns.
  • Sunburst: Big damage and nice debuff. Great AoE that is somewhat limited by forcing a CON save.
  • Telepathy: While being able to telepathically talk to a creature anywhere on the same plane as you can be useful, an 8th-level spell slot is quite expensive for this effect.

9th level

  • Astral Projection: Niche and you will probably have some other reason for getting to the Astral Plane if you need to be there.
  • Blade of Disaster: This is a solid, bonus action, multiturn damage spell that can pay off big time with a couple of crits.
  • Foresight: Insane buff and it’s not concentration.
  • Gate: Helps you move to another plane of existence, which you can hopefully already do by 18th-level. The feature which allows you to summon a creature from another plane can be extremely hit-or-miss because you don't gain any control over the creature. Be careful of what kind of cosmic horror you might accidentally unleash upon your world…
  • Imprisonment: There are other ways to permanently dispose of those big baddies.
  • Mass Polymorph: Take up to 10 creatures out of the fight or turn your entire party into T-rexes.
  • Meteor Swarm: Nuke your enemies from orbit with this one simple trick! 20d6 fire damage and 20d6 bludgeoning damage, or half on a successful DEX save.
  • Power Word Kill: Very mechanically interesting spell. Essentially, you can auto-kill a creature if they have less than 100hp. Now, as a player, we do not know how much HP a monster has, but an Investigation or Insight check might allow some clues as to whether or not they’re close. Still, Meteor Swarm can do, on average, 140 damage (70 on a save), and can hit multiple creatures so this might not be that worth it.
  • Prismatic Wall: Another great wall, this time with no concentration. It is virtually indestructible, and your allies can pass through unharmed. This is extremely expensive for a 9th-level spell slot, but if you need an indestructible wall, here it is.
  • Psychic Scream: Great damage, targets an uncommon save (INT), stuns on a failed save, and explodes your targets head if they die from the damage.
  • Shapechange: Change into any creature while maintaining your class features and benefits from equipment. The downsides are that the creature must be something you have encountered once before and can't have a Spellcasting feature. Very similar, but definitely worse than true polymorph.
  • Time Stop: You can’t target other creatures during your 1d4 + 1 extra turns, but it’s a great opportunity to move into position and buff yourself seeing as it doesn't require concentration.
  • True Polymorph: This can be a crazy buff, or an extremely effective way to permanently get rid of a creature. For the buff portion, you can turn a creature into another creature whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target's. If the creature you're transforming is a player character, the CR matches the character's level. Seeing as challenge rating is meant to match a party of four to five players of that level, you can get a huge power boost by turning into a creature that has a CR equal to your level. For example, a 20th-level character can be turned into an ancient dragon, which would typically take a party of 20th-level adventurers to defeat. On the other hand, if you target an enemy and manage to concentrate successfully for an hour, the effect can be permanent. Therefore you could turn the big bad into a rock or something. Forever.
  • Weird: Compared to the other 9th level spells, weird just stinks. Basically fear with some damage.
  • Wish: Wish is the best 5e spell, hands down. Its regular use allows you to duplicate any other spell at 8th level or lower. However, it can also be used to regain all hit points for your whole party, change the outcome of a roll, or gain immunity to a spell. Some DMs may allow you to wish for basically anything, but at the risk of something going terribly wrong. This can make for some really cool deus ex machina moments.

Best Multiclass Options for Wizards

Multiclassing is always an opportunity cost, you have to determine if taking a level of another class is worth what you will lose from the original class. Many factors come into this decision, with the main factor being how long your campaign will run and, ultimately, what level you will be playing until. With Sorcerers and other full casters, you want to avoid taking more than 3 multiclass levels, or else you won’t be able to get access to 9th-level spells.

Another thing to take into consideration is the additional class’ primary ability scores. Ideally, you want to use the Wizard’s high INT to synergize with the additional class, but there is only one other class that uses INT to this extent (the Artificer). That said, multiclassing will work with classes that use a different primary ability score and can help smooth over some of the Wizard’s weaknesses.

Be warned though, Wizards are possibly the best single class build on their own. Dipping into another class delays or locks you out of very powerful spells at higher levels.

Artificer: This is the obvious choice since Artificers are also INT-based casters. Artificers open you up to medium armor and shields, giving a significant boost to AC. Take at least two levels of Artificer to get access to Infuse Item, or three if you want to gain an Artificer Specialist, of which Artillerist or Battle Smith would make the most sense. Taking more Artificer levels is not advised as it will delay gaining higher level Wizard spells too much. However, as a full caster, multiclassing into Artificer will not slow down your spell slot progression.

Cleric: A classic option is to take one level of Cleric to get access to medium/heavy armor, shields, and a whole host of new spells including powerful healing options.

Fighter: Taking one Fighter level gets you access to a massive amount of weapons and armor, as well as shields. The Defense Fighting Style can also help stack AC even higher, making you much more durable and making it easier to maintain concentration. A second level of Fighter gives you Action Surge, allowing you to potentially cast two spells in a turn, creating the opportunity for some powerful combos.

Sources Used in This Guide

Roland Drews

Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.

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