A Guide to D&D 5e Spells

Published on April 10, 2020, Last modified on April 10th, 2022

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5e Spell Mechanics


Just as swordsmen rely on their skills with a blade to keep them alive, the lifeline of spellcasters is their ability to harness magic. Certain powerful spells require more than just the ability to manipulate the arcane arts, they require the user to continually maintain control over the spell’s duration.

Learn more about this mechanic in our Concentration 5e overview.

Spellcasting Focus

Casting spells in any edition of Dungeons and Dragons has been somewhat obtuse and handwaved by most DMs to order to streamline their games. Spellcasting Focuses were re-introduced with 5th Edition as a way to handle spellcasting for single-class characters, as well as to simplify the process from 3.5 edition.

Learn more about this mechanic in our Spellcasting Focus 5e overview.

5e Spell Ratings

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good a particular spell is for a specific class/subclass. It’s not a hard 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

Ratings By Class

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.