Mind Sliver 5e Guide

Enchantment Cantrip
Casting Time
1 action
60 feet
1 round

Spell Description

You drive a disorienting spike of psychic energy into the mind of one creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on an Intelligence saving throw or take 1d6 psychic damage and subtract 1d4 from the next saving throw it makes before the end of your next turn.

At Higher Levels. This spell’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach certain levels: 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

Level 1 Level 5 Level 11 Level 19
Damage Dice 1d6 2d6 3d6 4d6
Min Damage 1 2 3 4
Average Damage 3.5 7 10,5 14
Max Damage 6 12 18 24

Is Mind Sliver Good?

Overall Rating: Blue. This means that mind sliver is a great spell and you should strongly consider this spell for your character.

Overall Notes: INT saves aren’t common proficiencies and psychic damage isn’t a common resistance. Sure, the damage isn’t as appealing as something like fire bolt, but the d4 reduction from the next saving throw is effective in lower tiers of play.

Class Specific Ratings for Mind Sliver

Sorcerer: This spell is an absolute beast when combined with your Quickened Spell Metamagic. Using this combo, you can use Quicken Spell on mind sliver and, if the target fails its save, follow up with a higher-level saving throw spell like blindness/deafness or hold person.

Warlock: This spell isn't quite the damage output you're looking for when compared to eldritch blast. That said, it can help debuff enemies for a big spell cast by an ally or on your next turn.

Wizard: Decent damage, uncommon saving throw, very few creatures resist pyschic damage, and comes with a rider debuff. Quite the package for a cantrip and can be very effective when combined with other spells that impose saving throws.

How to Use Mind Sliver Effectively in 5e

Mind sliver is an interesting and unique spell introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Not only does this spell have an uncommon damage type, target a vulnerable save for most creatures, and come with a pleasantly surprising rider effect, it doesn’t even cost a spell slot to cast! That said, it’s biggest downside is the simple fact that it lacks pure damage output capabilities.

It has a respectable range of 60 feet, which makes it very useable for wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks that prefer to keep their distance.

When to Use Mind Sliver

Imposing saving throws. Ultimately, all the classes that gain access to mind sliver have spells that output more damage and have a better range. Wizards and sorcerers have fire bolt and warlocks have fire bolt and eldritch blast. So, when is mind sliver worth it? The biggest way mind sliver can move the needle is when it causes a target to fail their save when they would have succeeded. While you can’t guarantee this will happen, if you use mind sliver then a party member drops a big spell, it certainly has the chance to pay off big time.

Uncommon damage resistance. Another less obvious opportunity to use mind sliver is when fighting enemies with damage resistances. If you’re going up against some kind of Bear Totem Warrior barbarian enemy that has resistance to everything but psychic, you’ll feel great about being able to output full damage while still debuff the enemies saving throws.

Psychic spellcaster build. The psionic class never made it into 5e, which is a bit of a shame. But, if you want to build a spellcaster that revolves around solely psychic spells, mind sliver is one of your two cantrip choices. The second of which is vicious mockery.

The Secret Strength to Mind Sliver

An underappreciated aspect of this spell is that is only requires a verbal component to cast. So, if you’re chained with your hands behind your back or running with a martial build that has a sword and shield, you’ll be able to cast mind sliver without needing to free up a hand.

When Not to Use Mind Sliver

If you and your party are out of saving throw imposing abilities, mind sliver is very unlikely to output more damage than other cantrips. Also, if you’re going up against psychic slinging enemies, it’s common for them to have a resistance to psychic damage, so you should fall back to using a different damage option.

Mind Sliver VS Frostbite VS Chill Touch

It’s not uncommon for cantrips to output slightly less damage than fire bolt but come with a rider effect to even the playing field. Let’s see how mind sliver stacks up to similar spells.

Mind Sliver: Targets INT saving throws, awesome damage type for avoiding resistances, and only verbal components required. Unfortunately, its d6 damage type can let it down. Ultimately, mind sliver is as worth it as the spell or effect you're trying to impose with the d4 penalty.

Frostbite: 60 feet range and similar damage, frostbite is another solid damage + debuff cantrip. Instead of debuffing saving throws, frostbite gives disadvantage on the next weapon attack the creature makes before the end of its next turn. Unfortunately, this targets CON saving throws, which are a commonly proficient save amongst monsters.

Chill Touch: More range than mind sliver and more damage, but more niche rider effects. First, the target can't regain hit points and second, it gets disadvantage on attack rolls against you if it's an undead. So, if you're fighting an enemy that self heals, like a troll, or have zombies bearing down on you, chill touch will likely be the better choice.

Closing Thoughts

Mind sliver is a spell that can turn a disappointed groan when your enemy saves against a big spell effect to a resounding cheer when they fail by one or two because of the d4 negative you imposed. This is one of the best reasons to stock the spell: it’s not boring but it’s still not overpowered. Also, the fact that is promote team work and strategy can make it even more appealing for players that are looking to take their spellcasting game to the next level.