Spirit Guardians

3rd level Conjuration
Casting Time
1 Action
Range
Self (15-Foot Radius)
Duration
Concentration, up to 10 minutes
Components
V
S
M
Materials Required
A holy symbol
Class
Cleric

Spell Description

You call forth spirits to protect you. They flit around you to a distance of 15 feet for the duration. If you are good or neutral, their spectral form appears angelic or fey (your choice). If you are evil, they appear fiendish.

When you cast this spell, you can designate any number of creatures you can see to be unaffected by it. An affected creature’s speed is halved in the area, and when the creature enters the area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 radiant damage (if you are good or neutral) or 3d8 necrotic damage (if you are evil). On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 3rd.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
Damage Dice 3d8 4d8 5d8 6d8 7d8 9d8 9d8
Min Damage 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Average Damage 13.5 18 22.5 27 31.5 36 40.5
Max Damage 24 32 40 48 56 64 72
Lvl Dice Min Avg Max
1st
2nd
3rd 3d8 3 13.5 24
4th 4d8 4 18 32
5th 5d8 5 22.5 40
6th 6d8 6 27 48
7th 7d8 7 31.5 56
8th 9d8 8 36 64
9th 9d8 9 40.5 72

Is Spirit Guardians Good?

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

Overall Notes: Acts as a deterrent against melee attackers or gives them a hard time moving away. This will be especially potent if you plan on diving into the fray.

How to Use Spirit Guardians Effectively in 5e

Spirit guardians is a flexible combat spell that provides a lot of crowd control for your party. It does reasonable damage that can repeat round after round while slowing enemy movement to help ensure the targets are constantly effective. Because it centers on the caster, it can move with your character, increasing flexibility by allowing you to constantly adjust its effective range. It is most powerful when facing a large number of small, melee-focused enemies, or one enemy that you need to stay near for an extended period of time.

It is most effective for characters that want to be in the middle of a lot of enemies while being able to survive the damage they will try to inflict upon the caster. Being primarily a cleric spell, subclasses such as the Twilight, Forge, or War Domain that get access to heavy armor proficiency and want to be close to the enemies can make great use of this spell. Subclasses such as the Trickery or Life Domain, that are more frail and want to avoid the center of combat, will get less out of this spell, but will still find it very effective at keeping enemies at bay.

Melee clerics that find keeping their concentration on spirit guardians an issue would due well to take either the War Caster or Resilient (CON) feat.

Spirit Guardians VS Spirit Shroud

Spirit guardians and spirit shroud fulfill a similar niche, being 3rd level spells that create an aura to hinder enemy movement. The key differences are:

Spirit Guardians: Does a larger amount of damage and in an area of effect. It covers a larger area and does damage regardless of whether the target succeeds or fails. It also lasts for a longer period of time, which can be useful if you are quickly moving from combat to combat, or are in a particularly long encounter

Spirit Shroud: Functions as an action-budgeted Spirit Guardians. Only costs a bonus action, allowing you to cast a cantrip in the same turn. It enhances your attacks which is effective if you are able to make multiple attacks in a single action. It also provides a nice healing debuff to enemies.

Spirit guardians is a more impactful spell and should be used when you do not need to fit a cantrip that requires an action into your turn, or you don’t need the healing debuff from spirit shroud.

Spirit Guardians 5e FAQs

Does the movement speed being halved from spirit guardians count as difficult terrain?

No. In fact, those effects can stack together, effectively crippling a creature's movement.

Do the type of creatures summoned matter for the effectiveness of spirit guardians?

Aside from good or neutral creatures doing radiant damage and evil creatures doing necrotic damage, the creatures are entirely for flavor.

Can I choose which type of damage I deal with the spirit guardians?

The type of creature is related to the character’s alignment, and can not easily be changed.

Can classes other than cleric take this spell?

Oath of Crown Paladins, Divine Soul Sorcerers, and Bards with the Magical Secrets trait gain access to this spell.

If multiple spirit guardians are used by multiple casters, do the effects stack on top of each other?

The damage will work from both spell effects, but the movement will only be reduced to half speed once.

Closing Thoughts

Spirit Guardians is an incredibly effective spell for just about any build that can use it. While it is not necessary, especially if you plan on staying far away from the enemies, it is a great crowd control option for any build that can use it.